I received an interesting press release (reprinted below) today from a new organization called Time4Homes. Looking up the keyword “homelessness,” I haven’t written about the issue in more than a year.
I’m not sure I have much new to say about it, other than reiterating one of my ideas of creating social enterprises to provide supportive employment (“One potential solution to the problem of “finding work” for homeless adults,” 2017).
Homelessness has been a big issue in Salt Lake County.
At one point, five to ten years ago, Utah was touted as having “solved homelessness” by building housing for that population (“Utah Reduced Chronic Homelessness By 91 Percent; Here’s How,” NPR).
But in the vein of my point that homelessness as an issue “is a river not a lake,” it didn’t solve the problem, because homelessness isn’t a matter of providing housing to a fixed population. The population of homeless waxes and wanes, but definitely doesn’t disappear (“Once a national model, Utah struggles with homelessness,” Reuters). There are always new people suffering the onset of the kinds of economic, social, and health issues that lead to homelessness.
Homeless shelters were concentrated in Salt Lake City on the edge of Downtown and became particularly problematic, so the State stepped in to coordinate a response (“How Salt Lake City upended the system to use police and shelters to fight homelessness,” Los Angeles Times) called Operation Rio Grande, since the shelters were concentrated in the area of the old Rio Grande Railroad Station.
From “Homelessness Irrespective of the Pandemic” by Richard Layman (Urban Places and Spaces).