Task Force Targets Salt Lake's Homeless

Task Force Targets Salt Lake's Homeless

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Samantha Hayes reportingPeople who work with the homeless say they are trying to make services more accessible with the help of this new task force.

They line up every night around the Salvation Army's building on Rio Grande, just to get something to eat.

"It is generally thought the numbers we come up with vastly underestimate the need," says Bill Crim of Utah Issues.

Business, religious, and community leaders make up this Homeless Humanitarian Task Force. The purpose is to find better solutions, perhaps even a better location, for those in need.

Deborah Nielsen is on the task force. "There may be other ways to make sure people don't have to stand outside, don't have to line up, wait in the cold," she suggests.

The location of homeless services was questioned before, when the nearby Gateway shopping center was built. Now that the area is bustling commerically, Gateway owners say they still have no intention of purchasing or developing the property where homeless are served.

"Because of the sensitivity of the homeless shelter issue, we are not looking at going south," says Kem Gardner, president of The Boyer Company.

The Salvation Army says the property isn't available anyway. It will become an endowment center to support the charity.

It is also working with the Road Home and plans to move dinner up one block to the Catholic Community Services facility.

Major Wayne Froderberg of the Salvation Army says, "The Catholic facility is far better than we have. We can't afford to update our facility."

Improving shelter and food services, the most immediate needs, are a good start. The end goal is a more daunting task.

According to Nielson, "The whole purpose of this task force is to determine what is the best solution to the homeless issue in our community."

Another change will happen next week. The Salvation Army's family services will be moving to 500 East.

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