This spring presents a new opportunity for our beloved organization. While we continue working beside people to secure housing, we must also invest some care and attention to a vital part of our safety net. For years, we have provided emergency shelter during the coldest months of the year to the increased number of people who turn to us for refuge from the cold. Traditionally, the demand pattern for emergency shelter climbs each winter as the temperatures drop then decreases somewhat as temperatures rise.
Our team embraces this need by providing additional shelter at our Community Winter Shelter located in Midvale. This seasonal shelter operates on a conditional use permit, which allows us to provide emergency shelter from November through March each year.
For years, The Road Home has leased the facility in Midvale. To characterize the facility as a “fixer upper” would be generous.
The building, while structurally sound, is in need of serious improvements. Our team’s wealth of compassion, knowledge, and dedication cannot entirely compensate for a roof riddled with leaks or worn out boilers that barely produce enough hot water to meet demand.
Ironically, the only way to improve this situation was to take control of the facility. Through thoughtful negotiation on the part of our Board of Trustees, coupled with support from our friends at Zion’s Bank, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, The Road Home has purchased the facility in Midvale. This move enabled us to achieve two objectives.
First, The Road Home can now improve the condition of the facility to a standard that better reflects our agency’s and our community’s commitment to serving those who turn to us in their time of need. Additionally, securing this facility ensures that we will have the capacity to meet the need for emergency shelter going forward. The potential to lose a lease presented a constant threat to our ability to meet demand for emergency shelter each winter.
As we leave the colder months behind, our work on the Midvale shelter is just beginning. Our friends at NJRA Architects have generously agreed to work beside us as we undertake this significant renovation project. My words cannot express to you the precious hope that an architect’s vision instills as we embrace this undertaking.
Time is of the essence as we will work with our sights set on substantially completing the renovations in advance of the coming winter season. We have a very long way to go, fundraising being a significant consideration as we move forward. Still, our path is clear as is the benefit to those families who will turn to us in the years to come.
Like the successful efforts, including Palmer Court and renovations to our Salt Lake Community Shelter, we have undertaken before this one, it is a daunting challenge worth embracing. I look forward to keeping you up-to-date on our progress at our Community Winter Shelter.
As I envision next winter and the improved environment that we will provide families who turn to us for help, my teammates and I will be indebted to each of you that empower us to serve this critical mission. Thank you for your commitment. – Matt Minkevitch, Executive Director.