Utah panel greenlights cash for final homeless shelter site

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SALT LAKE CITY — A state committee has approved $4.5 million to buy a downtown Deseret Industries thrift store to replace an overcrowded homeless shelter beset by violence.

The LDS Church-owned building at 131 E. 700 South is one of three future homeless resource centers in Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake to replace the downtown Road Home shelter.

The State Homeless Coordinating Committee approved the purchase of the last of the three sites for the shelters Tuesday. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will run the thrift store through Nov. 30.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said it's a major step toward getting the three shelters open by June 2019. The Road Home shelter, 210 S. Rio Grande St., would then close its doors.

State lawmakers set aside about $20 million over the past two years to pay for two new homeless centers in Salt Lake City and one in South Salt Lake.

Shelter the Homeless, a nonprofit board that will oversee the shelters, provided the committee a projected timeline for building demolition, design and construction over the next two years.

"They are moving ahead very quickly on the design on each of the three sites," Janell Fluckiger, executive director of Shelter the Homeless, told the committee.

Floor plans are scheduled to be presented to the public for feedback in September, she said.

The 60,000-square-foot center at 275 High Ave., will house up to 200 men and women, while the same size shelter at 131 E. 700 South is for up to 200 women. The 90,000-square-foot shelter at 3380 S. 1000 West will take up to 300 men.

Contributing: Associated Press

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