Council takes action to keep shelter overflow open

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(KSL News) The Salt Lake City Council has taken emergency action in an effort to meet the needs of a rising homeless population this winter.

The Road Home Shelter on Rio Grande Street regularly relies on its neighbor, the St. Vincent de Paul Center, for shelter overflow during the colder months. But city planning officials discovered the overflow plan was technically illegal because it lacked a conditional-use permit.

The city council decided to skip the official paperwork needed and approved a temporary zoning regulation that will allow the overflow to stay open.

The council said Tuesday there was a compelling public interest to grant the temporary regulations without a public hearing. Getting the proper permissions would take four to six months.

The problem was discovered when city planners investigated a complaint from a restaurant owner that the homeless shelters in the area on the west side of the city are interfering with his business. City leaders also are promising to look into complaints about the shelters.

Shelter officials estimate the overflow will serve at least 90 homeless men this year.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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