This article originally appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune. Click here to read the article in its entirety.
As officials dissect the first year of Operation Rio Grande, some are pointing to deep structural problems in Utah’s housing markets as a major contributor to homelessness.
State, county and city leaders touted their progress last week in the police and social-services campaign, which has targeted crime and vagrancy in the Rio Grande neighborhood around Salt Lake City’s downtown homeless shelter. But advocates say that, despite hundreds of homeless being helped and housed through the program, thousands more residents remain vulnerable without wider and more systemic government action to reverse a lack of affordable housing.
Low-income advocates with the Crossroads Urban Center and the government-reform group Alliance for a Better Utah have launched a campaign asking Gov. Gary Herbert and state lawmakers to deliver more money in the upcoming 2019 budget to expand affordable housing and temporary shelter options for individuals and families.