Committee gets earful over proposed homeless sites

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - It was standing room only, and residents packed into multiple overflow rooms at the Capitol for one of the final hearings on the homeless shelter sites. West Valley City and South Salt Lake have been extremely outspoken about the proposals.

Residents, and businesses have been voiced the most frustration saying this was thrown on them at the last minute.

South Salt Lake residents and businesses showed up in mass to give their thoughts on the sites. The city said they already have 34 percent of their tax base which is tax exempt due to county properties. They say buildings like the jail and sewer treatment plant is them taking what no one else wants.

"This is not another case of people standing up and pounding their fist and saying not in my back yard," said one South Salt Lake resident. "This is a community that is finally standing up for itself and saying our backyard is already full."

Several West Valley City residents complained several of their proposed sites are along the Jordan River which already has issues with homelessness. They worry it could get worse if a site goes in.

Rob Wesemann is the Director of Homeless Services for Volunteers of America and is a member of the Site Evaluation Committee. He said the resource center model is much different from an emergency shelter, and won't have the same issues.

"We know that across the county resource centers like this help shorten people's time in this crisis of homelessness, and get them integrated back into the community," said Wesemann.

The evaluation committee will rank the sites from best to worst at their next meeting on Tuesday March 28th. A legislative committee will be responsible in selecting the final site.

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