Report looks at challenges facing homeless service providers

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Utah Foundation releases Keeping Open the Doors of Hope: How the Coronavirus Pandemic is Affecting Homeless Services in Salt Lake County. The report presents findings from a survey of homeless service providers in Salt Lake County exploring the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. It is the first in a series of reports on homelessness.

Among the findings of the new report:

  • A majority of organizations have continued providing services during the pandemic, while about 18% have reduced or temporarily closed their services.    
  • About 45% of the homeless service providers reported that their survivability is being challenged at least somewhat.
  • Homeless service providers are facing a variety of challenges, with health safety of staff being the top challenge (57% of respondents).
  • On average, nonprofit organizations report a greater number of challenges than do governmental agencies.
  • Organizations are adopting a diverse and innovative set of mitigation strategies, with a majority being management-focused.

Utah Foundation President Peter Reichard says the report will help policymakers, philanthropists and service providers gain a better understanding of where those providers stand. “Both nonprofit and public sector homeless service providers are facing unprecedented challenges amidst the coronavirus pandemic,” Reichard said. “This report will help these organizations and their supporters navigate choppy waters.”

Special thanks to the Richard K. and Shirley S. Hemingway Foundation, the Sorenson Legacy Foundation and Salt Lake County for providing project-based support for the homelessness series.

The report is attached hereto and is available on the Utah Foundation website at