Skip to main content

South Salt Lake Journal

SSL offers olive branch to Shelter the Homeless

Aug 29, 2019 11:35AM ● By Bill Hardesty

SSL Planning Commission begins the public comment phase for the HRC conditional use permit. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

The public comment phase started for the conditional use permit (CUP) for the 1000 West Homeless Resource Center (HRC) during the regular planning commission meeting on Aug. 15.

Before the public hearing part of the meeting, Christine Richman, project manager for SSL, and Jodi Hoffman, legal consultant for SSL, walked the commission through a 19-page condition document. The document had three columns. One column shows the conditions as written in May, which was version 7. Another column shows comments from Shelter the Homeless (STH) and the final column shows written conditions from August, version 10. The chart lists 24 conditions along with numerous subcategories over 106 lines. The lines are colored coded. Line items in green (19) are agreed to. Items in yellow (49) need some work but are agreed to in concept and items in red (35) are the proverbial straws that break the camel's back. Three lines are deleted. 

For the meeting, Richman and Hoffman focused on the red items. As they did, they asked for permission to continue to negotiate with STH for a resolution in the next two weeks, which might prove difficult since STH and The Road Home didn’t attend the meeting.

"It is very disappointing the applicant did not attend," Commissioner George Pechmann commented.

In a statement sent to the South Salt Lake Journal, Shelter the Homeless Executive Director Preston Cochrane didn’t say specifically why they didn’t attend, but said they “have identified over 20 specific conditions that must be eliminated from the proposed permit before we can even begin discussion.” 

Cochrane said those conditions were “communicated in writing” to Mayor Cherie Wood before the planning commission meeting. 

During the public hearing section, only two individuals were in attendance and spoke. Since city staff plans to continue refining conditions, the public hearing remained open until the next meeting on Aug. 29.

Seeking a dialogue

"Earlier we drew a line in the sand, which prevented dialogue. We want to bring the line down," Hoffman said.

She often repeated the two city goals which is to have a safe environment for the HRC residents and not have a drug market around the HRC.

She also said, "We want to take another shot to resolve the differences in red."

Two ways they are going to try to do so is soften condition language and build in escalated conditions that will be apply as needed.

For example: soften the wording about running everyone for outstanding warrants or requiring everyone to have drug test at entry or removing the requirement for STH to reimburse the city for police/EMT calls not paid by state funds (a cost for high number of police/EMT calls is already in the city code).

An example of escalated conditions is requiring that no resident can use illegal substance on the site. However, if problems around the HRC develop, this condition would step up to include using drugs off the premises. 

Commissioner Jeremy Carter said, "We should let them (STH and the Road Home) correct their mistakes.”

Hoffman added, "We need to give them the opportunity to run the shelter."

Sampling of conditions

A sample of the remaining 21 conditions the applicant is required to do are: 

  • Have a lighted crosswalk at 3300 South and 1000 West 
  • Install a CCTV security system 
  • Ensure a limited population of 300 individuals who may receive shelter at the facility for a period averaging no more than 90 days 
  • Ensure all individuals must be referred to the facility through the Coordinated Entry System or by the South Salt Lake City Police Department 
  • Ensure no walk-in or non-current resident may receive any service from the facility 
  • Issue an identification badge and searched for weapons and contraband 
  • Active illicit drug user(s) prohibited 
  • Public intoxicated individuals, defined as a danger to themselves or others, prohibited entry or reentry 
  • Each resident is assigned a case manager 
  • No resident may use illegal substances on the premises 
  • Have at least 10 individuals (two security, eight staff members) 24 hours/7 days a week 
  • Work with other agencies to prevent camping in the vicinity of the 1000 West Homeless Shelter 
  • Provide comprehensive on-site services for its residents 
  • Enforce adherence of the resident's Code of Conduct used at other HRCs
  • Provide transportation for residents 
  • Allow some private donations accepted at the site subjected to escalation 
  • Hold regular coordinating meetings with neighboring property owners and residents 
  • Transport any rejected or suspended resident to another more appropriate facility within the Continuum of Care 
  • No animals at the site except as required by the reasonable accommodation provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act or other federal law 
  • Install and staff a 24-hour phone number dedicated to reporting and resolving disturbances caused by the homeless population in the vicinity of the shelter 
  • Have periodic, unannounced searches (including search by a drug-sniffing canine) by the South Salt Lake City Police Department or its designee