The Problem of Homelessness in Utah
The mid 1980s brought an economic revitalization to Salt Lake City’s downtown that included the demolition and redevelopment of many substandard housing units otherwise known as Single-Room Occupancy Hotels (SROs). The SROs were homes to Salt Lake’s lowest-income residents who often worked odd jobs within walking distance as janitors or watchmen. When the roughly 800 housing units were torn down, 1,000 residents were cut off from their homes and jobs. Prior homelessness in Utah was an isolated and temporary phenomenon. Now it can be predictable, intergenerational and permanent.
Fourth Street Clinic – Medical Relief for the Homeless
Founded in 1988 as a triage clinic, Fourth Street Clinic was staffed with one part-time nurse who relied heavily on hospitals for patient treatments. Today, with a staff of over 50 and a volunteer network of about 150, Fourth Street Clinic serves over 5,000 homeless men, women and children — with 28,000 medical, mental health, substance abuse, dental, and case management visits in 2016. The ALSAM Foundation Pharmacy at Fourth Street Clinic dispensed 70,000 medications in 2016, and these numbers continue to increase year over year. By increasing homeless Utahns’ access to primary care, Fourth Street Clinic is a major partner in ending homelessness, promoting community health, and achieving across-the-board health care savings.