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South Salt Lake Journal

City Council asks Shelter the Homeless to name resource center after Reverend

Apr 02, 2020 11:33AM ● By Bill Hardesty

As South Salt Lake Councilmember Ray deWolfe looks on, Councilmember Natalie Pinkney shakes Reverend France A. Davis’ hand after passing the resolution. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

On Feb. 26, the South Salt Lake City Council passed a resolution supporting naming the Men’s Homeless Resource Center in honor of Reverend France A. Davis. The resolution passed unanimously.

The resolution was the result of a resident’s comment two weeks earlier. Councilmember at-large Natalie Pinkney sponsored the resolution.

“Most of the Homeless Resource Centers in our community are named after big donors, but when you think about the service that Reverend Davis has done and the service this homeless resource center is supposed to provide, this should be above money. This should be about alignment of values, servitude and social justice, and I think it would be an honor for us to pass this resolution,” Pinkney said.

The resolution only expresses the opinion of the City Council. The Homeless Resource Center is owned by Shelter the Homeless and it is up to them to name the building.

South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood was taking the resolution to the board meeting of Shelter the Homeless the next day.

The resolution (R2020-05)

The resolution reads in part, “Reverend Davis has devoted his life to the service of others, including providing countless hours of physical, spiritual, and educational support to individuals experiencing hardships like homelessness.”

The resolution continues, “The decades spanning selflessness of the Reverend France A. Davis provides an exemplar of the type of service that should be rendered to the individuals residing at the 1000 West Homeless Resource Center and the dignity with which they should be treated.”

And calls for the Homeless Resource Center to be named for Reverend France A. Davis “in honor of selfless devotion he has provided to those individuals who are experiencing hardships including homelessness.”

After the vote, Davis received a standing ovation as he shook the hands with the council and mayor.

As he made his way to the microphone, Portia Mila, District 4, remarked, “A couple of years ago, I was able to meet Reverend Davis and what an amazing man he is and thank you for the service you have provided to the community.”

In true humble fashion, Davis thanked the council and mayor for passing the resolution. He quickly reviewed some of the many projects he has been involved with including feeding the homeless each Sunday morning.

He concluded, “Thank you for the honor you pay to me and thank you for your trust.”

Shelter the Homeless response

In an email, Preston Cochrane, executive director of Shelter the Homeless, provided this response: “The comment about preferring to name the building after a donor is inaccurate. There are several worthy individuals being considered in naming the Men's Resource Center who have served the homeless community. Like any nonprofit organization, Shelter the Homeless has critical financial obligations that must be met. One of the ways nonprofits anchor capital financial obligations is by recognizing donors for their generosity.”

Reverend France A. Davis

Davis came to Salt Lake City in 1972 to fulfill a one-year fellowship at the University of Utah. That same year, he joined the Calvary Baptist Church.

He recently retired after 46 years at the Calvary Baptist Church. While serving, he worked for fair housing laws, educational opportunities and improved health care.

He has served on many community boards, including the Board of Corrections and the Board of Regents, which oversees higher education.