BEFORE 4:10PM TODAY! Close gaps in funding for homelessness with HB 440!

Ask legislators on the House Health and Human Services Committee to vote YES on HB 440 to close gaps in funding for the homeless!

Last November, the downtown Road Home Shelter closed as three new shelters opened up that would house a maximum of 700 people. The idea was to disperse resources in hopes of limiting violence and crime in the developing Rio Grande neighborhood. As Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County and the state enter a new era for homeless services, officials are hopeful for the future, confident there’s enough political will — combined with Utahns’ charitable nature — to sustain the new model. However, as this new system comes into place, additional legislation is needed to iron out wrinkles, such as providing funding for gaps in operation and construction costs.

This bill will be heard in the House Health and Human Services Committee TODAY AT 4:10PM – email the committee members now!

Simply scroll down and click “Start Writing” to ask legislators to vote YES on HB 440.

What would HB 440 Homeless Services Funding Amendments do?

HB 440 modifies how the Homeless Coordinating Committee may use money from the Homeless to Housing Reform Restricted Account, including appropriating funding to close the gap in the operation expenses for the new resource centers and permitting the use of existing funding from the sale of previous sites toward the construction of the new centers to help pay down the Shelter the Homeless debt.

(Remember to personalize your comments for the greatest impact! Why do YOU support this proposal?)

  • The Homeless Strategic Plan put forth by the Department of Workforce Services calls for taking stock of affordable housing through a collaboration with local housing experts, and of mental health and substance abuse resources by October 2021. Advocates will then conduct an assessment of the gaps in the system to help determine funding priorities by October 2021. HB 440 helps fill known funding gaps in the meantime.
  • Utah Legislature stripped $20 million in funding out of an affordable-housing bill last year, missing an opportunity to address the housing shortage. It’s time to invest in housing to reduce homelessness by fully funding the new homeless shelter plan in addition to other critical projects.
  • Shelter the Homeless met unanticipated increases in construction costs by taking out a loan on behalf of the state to complete the new shelters. HB 440 helps pay down that loan with funding available from the sale of state property in the Rio Grande area.
  • Funding through HB 440 will also help support transitional housing projects until future funding needs can be determined.
  • Despite the presence of 11,000 HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and 24,000 tax credit rental units, officials estimate Utah lacks roughly 45,000 dwellings affordable to those earning below-average wages, particularly those at the lowest income levels. This, in part, has resulted in Utah’s homeless population nearly doubling since 2016.
  • The new three shelter strategy seeks to fulfill a broader goal of ending homelessness in our state. By encouraging fewer days spent in shelters, the plan prioritizes access to resources while residents secure long-term, affordable housing.
How to make sure your letter is successful:

  1. Use a clear and specific subject heading.
  2. Start with a salutation (“Dear …”).
  3. Be CIVIL, PERSONAL and as CONCISE as possible.
  4. Mention that you are a CONSTITUENT and include your full address with zip code.
  5. Sign your name at the end.

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