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Utah County Program Seeks to Aid Homeless

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A Utah County program to move homeless residents into permanent housing begins Monday when two jail inmates will move into apartments paid for with a state grant.

The participants will work and meet with mentors and pay for part of their housing as part of the program sponsored by the Utah County Chronic Homeless Task Force.

"Homelessness in many respects is a symptom of many other problems and not just the problem," said Bill Hulterstrom, president of United Way in Utah County, and a member of the task force.

The task force has been working for the past two years as a subcommittee of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Continuum of Care program to develop a system to help chronically homeless people.

A January estimate put Utah County's homeless population at 29.

The task force is focusing on helping those who have a history of being in the county jail, said Richard Green, Utah County Jail chaplain.

"We take a person and incarcerate them for a number of months and then we put them on the street and tell them they have to pay $200 to $300 a week for fines and drug treatment," Green said. "How are we going to expect that person to have a job that will allow him to work around their drug treatment on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings? How in the world can you hold down a job, go to treatment and pay for everything?"


Information from: Deseret Morning News

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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