Poll: Salt Lake Residents Want Better Treatment for Homeless Population

Salt Lake City residents say the city should either provide better support for the homeless population around Pioneer Park or increase the law enforcement presence there as the best way to deal with the problem.

A new UtahPolicy.com/Dan Jones & Associates survey asked residents their opinions on what should be done regarding crime and homelessness in the Pioneer Park and Gateway areas. 
  • Nearly 40% of residents say they want to see more and better support for homeless people in the downtown area around Pioneer Park and Gateway.
  • Another 28% say the shelters should stay where they are, but the city should provide an increased law enforcement presence in the area.
  • Just 17% think the homeless shelters and other support services should be moved out of the area.
  • Only 5% say the current situation is not a problem.


Younger residents want the city to provide better services while older citizens think an increased police presence will be a better cure for the problems in the area.
  • 50% of those between 18 and 24 years of age prefer more support for the homeless.
  • 47% between 25 and 34 choose better support for the homeless
  • Those between 35 and 44 seem to be divided, with 36% advocating for better support while 27% want an increased police presence.
  • The same goes for those between 45 and 54: 31% want more police while 26% want better services. 28% of that group wants to move the shelters away from Pioneer Park and Gateway.
  • Salt Lakers between 55 and 64 are almost evenly split, with 34% wanting better services and 35% preferring more police.
  • Residents over the age of 65 lean more toward an increased police presence, with 43% preferring that answer. Just 23% in that age group want better services.
Surprisingly, no demographic we polled thought moving the shelters away from Pioneer Park and Gateway was the preferred solution. 
That runs in the face of two efforts to redevelop the Gateway/Pioneer Park area 
The Pioneer Park Coalition, a group of businesses and community organizations, are pushing to build housing on the West side of Salt Lake City to move some of the homeless providers away from the Pioneer Park area. They have been working for more than a year to "improve the neighborhood" around the park and Gateway area. 
What may be more palatable for Salt Lake City residents is an initiative announced by Mayor Ralph Becker and the Salt Lake Police Department to crack down on crime in the Rio Grande area around Pioneer Park. The plan seeks to step up enforcement on drug trafficking by putting more cops on the street. Additionally, eight social workers will coordinate with police in the area to better serve the homeless population.
The survey was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates from July 7-21, 2015. 406 residents were contacted by telephone, cell phone, and online means. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.88%.