MAKING RECORD INVESTMENTS IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING
- Mayor Mendenhall has increased the number of affordable housing units invested-in by the city by 413 percent.
- Mayor Mendenhall has invested $46 million to expand the city’s inventory of affordable housing, including a stunning $30 million this year alone.
- These investments are in addition to the 240 units of permanent supportive housing already opened during Mayor Mendenhall’s term to help the city’s unsheltered residents, and a staggering $6 million investment to urgently open more than 400 additional permanent supportive housing units this spring.
- Mayor Mendenhall is also partnering with the Other Side Academy to build a community of hundreds of tiny homes wrapped by support services to help unsheltered residents get back on their feet.
BRINGING SUPPORT SERVICES DIRECTLY TO THE UNSHELTERED
- Mayor Mendenhall launched the Community Commitment Program in her first year in office, mobilizing an unprecedented effort with more than a dozen organizations and city agencies to provide services and resources directly to our unsheltered residents.
- The city’s Justice Court even took to the Jordan River for “Kayak Court,” resolving cases that were preventing certain unsheltered residents from accessing support services, while afloat on the Jordan River.
- Consistent with our city’s values, getting people who are struggling the help — and housing — they need will always be Mayor Mendenhall’s top priority.
HOSTING WINTER OVERFLOW SHELTERS
- Mayor Mendenhall has repeatedly stepped up to fill gaps in the state’s homelessness response, hosting winter overflow shelters her first three years in office.
- Within days of taking office in 2020, Mayor Mendenhall stood-up an emergency overflow shelter to ensure everyone had a warm place to go each night. Salt Lake City again hosted a winter overflow shelter the following two winters.
- In 2022, even with a winter overflow shelter in Millcreek and a resource center capacity limits already increased, Mayor Mendenhall issued an emergency order increasing the capacity limits further during a dangerous cold spell.
REFORMING A BROKEN CITY PROCESS
- Mayor Mendenhall stuck up for Salt Lake City residents and gave them a real voice in the placement of homeless shelters for the first time. For decades, the city has had next to no say in where shelters were located and there was no way for the public to meaningfully weigh in.
- After a third homeless-services facility was proposed for the Ballpark neighborhood, Mayor Mendenhall imposed a moratorium on such facilities until the city could reform the process and prevent any single neighborhood from shouldering such a disproportionate share of responsibility.
- Mayor Mendenhall put in place the first official process for properly and publicly considering where homeless shelters are located in the city.
- Mayor Mendenhall and the City Council also rewrote zoning rules that had forced some neighborhoods to shoulder an unfair burden.
ADDRESSING THE IMPACT OF HOMELESSNESS ON OTHER CITY RESIDENTS
- The homelessness crisis does not only impact the unsheltered. Businesses, workers, housed residents, kids who want to play in our public parks — homelessness affects how safe people feel in public and even sometimes in their homes. And large encampments invite criminal infiltration, exploitation, and the proliferation of illicit drugs in our community. Mayor Mendenhall believes that the city’s compassion must extend to everybody impacted by homelessness.
- The Salt Lake County Health Department’s abatements of large encampments are a tragic, unpleasant necessity. Human waste, used needles, and trash on our streets, sidewalks, and in our parks must be removed for the health of everyone, including the unsheltered. While it is not and must not ever be illegal to be homelessness, it has long been against the law to camp in the city’s public spaces here.
- Mayor Mendenhall created a first-ever Rapid Intervention Team of trained professionals assigned to proactively engage with unsheltered individuals living in small encampments, connecting them with housing and support services. The team also cleans-up camps.
- Mayor Mendenhall expanded the Downtown Ambassadors program onto North Temple, hiring six new ambassadors to assist businesses, residents, visitors, and workers, and refer people experiencing homelessness to qualified service providers.
- Mayor Mendenhall also started a long-discussed Park Ranger program to put trained, uniformed professionals in city parks to help residents, educate visitors, and connect unsheltered individuals with support services.
- Because of Mayor Mendenhall’s change in approach, the city has received millions of dollars from the state for public safety issues associated with the homelessness crisis.
WORKING TO PREVENT EVICTIONS AND KEEP PEOPLE IN THEIR HOMES
- While state law forbids rent control and places other limits on tenants’ rights, Mayor Mendenhall has worked hard to keep people in their homes.
- During the pandemic, Mayor Mendenhall invested $20 million in rental assistance for city residents and aggressively promoted the state’s program for additional help.
- Mayor Mendenhall also partnered with Utah Legal Services and the U.S. District Court to help ensure tenants’ rights are protected.
- She is also in the process of creating a full-time position in the city government to support tenants and defend tenants’ rights.