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New 200-bed homeless center named for Gail Miller opens in Salt Lake City

New 200-bed homeless center named for Gail Miller opens in Salt Lake City

(Colter Peterson, KSL)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County moved one step closer to achieving its new vision for homeless services with a Friday ceremony and open house at the Gail Miller Resource Center.

Located at 242 W. Paramount Ave. in southern Salt Lake City, the resource center measures almost 62,700 square feet and can shelter up to 200 men and women. The center will be operated by Catholic Community Services and is owned by local nonprofit Shelter the Homeless.

Open house attendees discovered a modern, bright space with large gathering spaces, high ceilings, and abundant natural light. The spacious lobby, just off to the side and past a staircase from the building's check-in desk and entranceway, features a view into the center's full-service kitchen and looks out onto a front courtyard as well.

Wide hallways behind the lobby lead to office space and the men's dorms; the women's dorms are directly above them on the second floor.

Friday’s program included brief remarks from Harris Simmons, Shelter the Homeless board president; Catholic Community Services director of homeless services Matt Melville; Amy Hawkins, Ballpark Community Council chairwoman; and Miller herself.

“As you’ll see, this is a very, very beautiful building built for healing and helping those in need,” Melville said. “This building, however, is not a destination. This is a place to connect people to vital services and get them into housing quickly and sustainably.”

He called on local governments to tackle the affordable housing crisis and create more housing options for people of all income levels.

An emotional Miller said the opening of the resource center is very meaningful to her, and not just because the building bears her name. In fact, Miller was initially hesitant to be the building’s namesake but was chosen because of her advocacy for the community, including her foundation’s 2017 commitment to match donations up to $10 million for local homeless resources.

“I’ve witnessed for several years the hard work, the sacrifice and the dedication of so many people who have tried to find solutions for Utah’s homeless issues,” she said. “It hasn’t been an easy or a quick process. We’ve taken a very disciplined and strategic approach with the support of the state, the city and the community leaders.”

So far, Shelter the Homeless has raised $7,845,057 to be matched by the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation, according to its website.

“This is more than a building,” she said. “It’s not only beautiful, but it’s designed with the idea that it will radiate light and provide hope for some of our brothers and sisters experiencing their most difficult days.”

The Gail Miller Resource Center is only one of the three new shelters and will house both men and women; it has 160 beds for men and 40 beds for women. The Geraldine E. King Women’s Resource Center held its ribbon-cutting event in June, and the in-progress shelter in South Salt Lake will serve men.

The center's full-service kitchen is the most expansive among the new shelters, and Catholic Community Services communications director Danielle Stamos said it will be used in part to help make meals for all three.

It also has a computer lab and will house the Shelter the Homeless offices.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson were both on hand for the event, and their governments were thanked in remarks by both Simmons and Melville.

The three planned shelters will replace downtown’s The Road Home shelter, which is scheduled to close later this year.

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