Bill would fund smaller homeless shelters

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SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers supported important pieces of legislation each aimed to tackle the issue of Utah homelessness from a different angle. However, a single bill prevailed and passed on the final day of legislation.

A person covered in a blanket walks along a street Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Utah lawmakers are set to consider a proposal to spend $27 million to build new shelters and renovate old ones, something that homeless advocates say would relieve the strain on facilities concentrated in that downtown area. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
A person covered in a blanket walks along a street Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Utah lawmakers are set to consider a proposal to spend $27 million to build new shelters and renovate old ones, something that homeless advocates say would relieve the strain on facilities concentrated in that downtown area. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

After many considerations, lawmakers amended and passed HB436 to develop housing options, track success and fund long-term prevention.

Rather than sending all the homeless in Salt Lake county to the Road Home shelter in Salt Lake City and to the winter overflow to Midvale, HB436 will build more and smaller shelters in other, yet to be determined, neighborhoods.

Lawmakers will appropriate $9.25 million of state and federal money to fund this housing project.

While HB436 was more successful in the general session than similar bills, it still took three variations of the bill before it’s amendments were passed in committee,  the House, and the Senate.

Not only did the bill require multiple amendments to make lawmakers happy, but it did not ultimately pass until the final day of the general session.

Chavez-Houck’s HB328 also passed and will modify the requirements of the Homeless Coordinating Committee.

HB328 requires the committee to conduct needed assessments and data gatherings to identify statewide desired outcomes related to minimizing homelessness.

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