On August 14th of this past summer, state and local officials implemented the first phase of Operation Rio Grande. The first phase involved a collaborative effort on the part of various law enforcement agencies to eradicate the illicit drug dealing and subsequent chaos that has plagued our neighborhood for the past several years. There has been a significant reduction in the disorder that had descended on our neighborhood. The open air drug market that had been too well known in this area has been completely disrupted. During this period, the number of people staying at our downtown shelter did not decrease. Our agency would like to thank the law enforcement officials who took part in making the streets safer for our community, and in particular for those who are turning to our shelter in need of assistance.
A month prior to Operation Rio Grande, our agency, with the support of the State of Utah Department of Workforce Services implemented a motel leasing program for families experiencing homelessness. This program helps to increase the supply of temporary shelter for families. The Midvale Center, operated by the Road Home, does not have enough beds to meet the number of families seeking shelter. On an average night last week, approximately 146 families, consisting of 550 people turned to our agency for shelter. When adding the 500 men and 200 women who stayed with us in our downtown shelter, the Road Home is currently providing shelter to 1,200 people nightly. It is reasonable to expect the number of people turning to us this winter to increase.
However, our team at the Road Home provides critical housing service in addition to emergency shelter. While our team has been providing shelter to over 1,200 people nightly, our housing team has been serving an additional 1,600 people nightly. Housing effectively ends a person’s homelessness. Our agency will continue to advocate for the development of more deeply affordable housing. Too many people throughout our community are being priced out of the housing market.
Our team consistently demonstrates a diligence fueled by savvy and compassion. Serving over 1,200 people nightly in shelter as well as an additional 1,600 people in housing is not an undertaking for the faint of heart. Our team at the Road Home demonstrates our commitment daily, by way of thousands of meaningful interactions with people who have turned to us in their time of need. It is a type of dedication befitting our gratitude for this privilege to serve. We are grateful to the people who count on us to find a way out of their homelessness. We are grateful to you for supporting our efforts. Thank you.
Matthew Minkevitch – Executive Director, The Road Home