Reality: While The Road Home Shelter does serve as the largest homeless shelter in the state of Utah, we also offer an array of programs besides shelter. The Road Home has case management, mental health services, employment services, children’s programming, veteran’s services, housing programs and more. 62% of our budget is devoted to housing and supportive services while the other 38% is devoted to shelter.
Reality: Poverty and lack of affordable housing are what cause people to become homeless. Currently, Salt Lake County has an estimated 130,000 people living at or below the federal poverty guidelines. Creation of deeply affordable housing can have a profound reduction on this number.
Reality: The Road Home’s data shows that 80% of people we serve report being from Utah.
Reality: The Road Home shelter operates 24 hours per day 365 days a year. Dorms only close for two hours daily for cleaning.
Reality: Just like no two people are alike, the same is true for the homeless community. People experiencing homelessness fall into one of three categories: situational, episodic or chronic. Situational homelessness can occur when a family or individual is displaced from their home due to circumstances such as behavior or evictions. People experiencing episodic homelessness fall in and out of homelessness. Chronic homelessness is defined as either living in shelters or public places for at least the past year, or having had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years. Regardless of the category, the solution remains the same- housing.
Reality: The Road Home together with other state and local government leaders, business, and nonprofit partners are participating in a Collective Impact Model which is a plan for system-wide, coordinated strategies that offer effective service delivery to homeless individuals and families. The Road Home has over 66 formal and informal partnerships with other service providers within our community. Additionally, the agency has offices on-site from the Veteran’s Administration, Department of Work Force Services and Valley Mental Health Services.
Reality: All our agency programs strive to move our clients progressively toward independence. Housing is an essential component of this process. Clients are accountable for participating to the ability they are able. This includes paying rent. Typically clients pay 30% of their income towards rent. On any given night, The Road Home has more clients in our housing programs than our shelter programs. Last year, through perseverance and hard work, 2,760 people were able to move into housing with assistance from The Road Home.
Reality: The Road Home has a zero tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol. Clients are searched for contraband prior to entering the shelter. Our agency works closely with the police department to deter and report any crime in the area. Additionally, The Road Home has secured 24/7 private security to monitor both inside as well as outside the shelter.
Reality: Salt Lake City, working with homeless providers including The Road Home, has recently created a secure facility where homeless clients may store their belongings in a safe and secure setting.
Reality: Moving the shelter alone will not solve our homeless problem. The Road Home uses best practices in its programs and partnerships to solve homelessness, and has been nationally recognized, but we don’t have all the answers. This year both Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, have convened commissions to examine the location and/or the service delivery systems of homeless service providers. We are grateful to be a part of these discussions and look forward to continuing the work of improving homeless services for our community.