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Bishop Weigand Center may have to close its doors



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A busy homeless resource center could be closing its doors next week. The Bishop Weigand Center in downtown Salt Lake has lost a lot of its funding and might have to stop services.

The resource center, located at 200 South and 400 West, has helped homeless people for more than 10 years, but come next Thursday a decision will be made: keep it open or dismantle the operation.

It's a place where people can come during the day to get out off the streets and enjoy some time indoors. Whether it's making some calls, taking a shower, using the restroom or eating a meal, their doors are open to everyone.

A woman working at the center says those who frequent it are disappointed with the possibility. "They're totally bummed. I mean they get showers here. They come in and get to watch television. They get to relax, get out of the rain, out of the snow," said Cynthia Myers.

The center told its community about the issue back in April in order to give those people enough time to transition, but now it's going to be up to Salt Lake city and county governments to decide.

The Catholic Community Services director says the two entities are giving less funding to the Weigand Center than usual. In combination with the tough economy, Utah's plan to end chronic homelessness in the next 10 years has affected where money is going. Funds are going toward permanent housing instead of temporary help.

Shauna Jensen and her daughter Hayley volunteer at the center several times a week, and they don't want to see it go.

"When I learned they were closing I thought: Oh no! Where's everyone going to go?" Shauna said.

"I feel bad. I just, I don't know. We bring stuff in all the time. We spend hours there," Hayley said.

The center is already down to just three days a week, but the city and county will have the final say on June 25.

E-mail: ngonzales@ksl.com

Nicole Gonzales

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