SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A week after the Salt Lake City put a hospice house for the homeless on hold it appears a compromise has been reached. Thursday officials with the Inn Between and the Salt Lake City Council, as well as several other agencies and lawyers, met in a Capitol board room to go over possible solutions to get the Inn Between open.
One of the big problems the Inn Between was having had to do with their zoning. The Inn Between wanted to house up to 24 terminal homeless people in the old Guadalupe School. The city thought since they were offing hospice care, they should be licensed by the state as a medical facility so the council filed a temporary land use ordinance exempting the Inn Between from getting their zoning permit.
The Inn Between's Executive Director Kim Correa said. "The word hospice scares everybody, even those who have been through a hospice process with a loved one."
So during Thursday's meeting, the Inn Between officials made their hospice mission more clear. They would house sick homeless, but the residents would be under the care of a licensed hospice agency. "As long as they can get up and take care of themselves, for the most part, they'll be able to come in and live at the Inn Between and when they get to the point where they need a higher level of care we'll have a skilled nursing facility lined up," explained Correa.
It's not that the city was against a hospice house for the homeless, the council just wanted to ensure that the facility met a minimal level of safety and sanitation. So the Inn Between came up with another idea, rather than housing the sick homeless in the school they'd open up in the covent. The convent next to the school has 12 separate rooms, several bathrooms and is wheelchair accessible. They'd also change their zoning to a congregant care facility, a place that wouldn't need to be licensed by the state.
Councilman Kyle LaMalfa told ABC 4 News, "While we haven't approved anything formally, but I think the path that we're on is one of success."
Correa added, "I'm excited, our board of directors is excited, the hospitals and the 4th Street Clinic will be thrilled to hear this news. And I know the people on our wait list are very excited as well."
The Inn Between needs to install fire sprinklers, have the city's Planning Commission sign off on their zoning permit, and get a Certification of Occupancy before they can open. If all goes as planned the Inn Between could be opened in as little as 4 weeks.
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