A bipartisan group of legislators representing West Valley City and surrounding communities have published an open letter voicing their opposition to Salt Lake County’s proposal for a possible homeless shelter within West Valley City. Citing the rushed rollout of the proposal with no advance discussion with city leaders, the legislators echoed concerns expressed by residents and business owners about the impact on their communities.
The letter’s authors, Senators Karen Mayne, Luz Escamilla, and Daniel Thatcher, along with Representatives Angela Romero and Elizabeth Weight, state that “West Valley City has made a concerted effort to address transitional and affordable housing for some of our most vulnerable community members…We are already part of the solution and our communities should not be solely responsible for providing all these services that should be scattered throughout the state.”
The letter asks that Salt Lake County start over and work with all stakeholders to come up with a better solution.
An Open Letter to the Salt Lake County Site Evaluation Committee
March 20, 2017
As elected representatives for the residents and businesses of West Valley City and its surrounding communities, we are voicing our staunch opposition to the proposed sites for a new homeless shelter.
West Valley City is just beginning to reap the rewards of sustainable growth and economic development that our residents, business owners, and civic leaders have been working towards for years. As Utah’s second-largest city, West Valley City is vital to our state’s success in navigating the challenges we will face together as our population doubles in the coming decades. The balanced growth of well-planned communities, smart economic development, and corporate investment have shown that West Valley City can be a model for how a major city can grow while maintaining a small-town feel.
However, the suddenly announced plan to place a large homeless shelter in West Valley without any prior discussion with city leaders, threatens to upset the progress that we have made. Our residents and business owners have made it clear that they do not want to be forced to become the site of a homeless shelter, particularly one as large as is being proposed.
There are many reasons for our opposition to these sites. Chiefly among them: safety, compatibility with our communities, and impacts to businesses and homeowners. The surrounding area already holds all the state’s halfway houses, excluding one in Ogden, and the state’s only parole violator center. West Valley City has made a concerted effort to address transitional and affordable housing for some of our most vulnerable community members. West Valley City is currently home to over 33,000 affordable housing units. We are already part of the solution and our communities should not be solely responsible for providing all these services that should be scattered throughout the state.
West Valley City is part of the economic engine that makes Utah great. We are doing our fair share to ensure that our residents can find work, support their families, and live in a community that is safe, diverse, and welcoming. We strongly encourage Salt Lake County and their partners to return to the drawing board and come up with a solution that does not simply sweep the state’s homeless population onto the west side of the county where they will be out of sight and out of mind.