The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has announced a $10 million grant to Shelter the Homeless to create supportive housing in Salt Lake City.
Awarded through the church’s Humanitarian Aid Fund, the grant will fund construction and development of additional transitional housing in the Salt Lake Valley as part of a larger effort to reshape Utah’s response to homelessness. With the gift, the church has awarded more than $52 million over the past decade to nine groups serving the homeless in the region.
According to the state’s 2017 Comprehensive Report on Homelessness (74 pages, PDF), more than twenty-eight hundred Utahns were identified as homeless in January — a 1.6 percent increase from the 2016 survey. In recent years, public- and private-sector leaders have worked to reform the state’s homeless system, starting with Operation Rio Grande, which has led to hundreds of arrests around the Road Home downtown shelter; expanding drug addiction treatment services; and connecting the homeless to work opportunities. During the summer, Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller announced that her family will match up to $10 million in donations to fund programs and services inside three new shelters in Salt Lake County once they open in 2019, the Deseret News reports. The gift from the LDS Church does not fit the criteria for a match, however, as it is earmarked for development and construction of housing rather than services.
"I’m thrilled by the generosity," Shelter the Homeless executive director Janell Fluckiger told the Deseret News. "It shows great faith in the collective work done in this community over the past three years to address these issues. I have gratitude for the gift, and I’m grateful for the recognition of the work and their desire to support it and be part of it."