Head lice and bedbugs at homeless shelter?

MIDVALE (ABC4 Utah) A woman who lives in the Family Homeless shelter in Midvale is making some disturbing claims about health and sanitary conditions at the 300 bed facility.

Her claim in a Facebook post? Among other things she says "the conditions here are outrageous...There are bedbugs, head lice, cockroaches...Honestly it would be safer and healthier if I took my kids and slept on the streets."

ABC4's Randall Carlisle decided to investigate.

First call to Matt Minkevitch, Executive Director of The Road Home which runs the family shelter. His reply, short and sweet, "we are not aware of an outbreak of any kind."

Okay. You might expect that kind of response from someone who runs the place. So we took a different route just to make sure he was being truthful.

Several hundred of the children who's parents stay at the shelter attend class every day in the Canyons School District. They would know if kids came to school with head lice.

District spokesperson Jeff Haney: "we did a check and we haven't seen a rise in the number of cases of kids who have head lice or bedbugs anymore than any other time of the year."

The shelter is proactive to prevent this. Minkevitch says they have "steel bunks and impermeable mattresses to prevent the spread of pests."

And he says they use "monthly spraying and a service that uses beagles to detect pests."

The school district also springs into action when head lice is detected. The Canyons Jeff Haney says "we have school nurses and they work with the families. We provide to them the shampoos that are necessary to get them medical services to get them healthy again."

He says district workers will even go to the shelter to work with families on sanitary conditions. "The staff is always willing to help them get the services that they need so we can get the kids back in school. We want the kids in school because that's where they're going to be learning."

Carlisle also contacted the Salt Lake County Health Department and they haven't seen any spike in head lice or bedbug cases.

So everyone admits they do come across cases of lice and bedbugs, but not the outrageous conditions described by the woman who contacted ABC4.


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