SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – The site of a vacated thrift store is about to become Salt Lake City’s first new-look homeless resource center.
The former Deseret Industries building at 131 East, 700 South will be demolished to make way for a 200 bed resource center for homeless women.
Preston Cochran is the Executive Director of Shelter The Homeless, an organization that will oversee the service providers operating within.
“They can get the services they need as quickly as possible and then move on to permanent shelter,” Cochran told News4Utah at an open house to reveal the plans to the public Wednesday. “Services will include employment training, job services, housing locator and things that will help them to improve their life skills.”
Some nearby residents and business owners fear it might negatively affect their area, like the west side of Downtown before Operation Rio Grande.
“Whenever you have homeless resources in a neighborhood it encourages camping,” Theodore Cowan of the Central City Neighborhood Council said. “Camping is the biggest visual nuisance when it comes to neighborhoods.”
Architects explain it’s all designed with safety in mind. The structure will look like a modern office building or a hotel, with extensive security lighting and a lot of openness with glass walls.
“The intent is that there’s all eyes everywhere not just for the community but for the clients that will be using the resource centers,” architect Jill Jones said.
“See and be seen. That kind of safety both inside and outside. So this is an enclosed courtyard for the women who will be at this particular shelter to use during the daytime and not have to be out in the neighborhood.”
Construction will begin on the facility in June and take a year to complete. There’s another homeless resource center planned for a site at 275 West High Avenue.