WVC tells SLCO to rethink homeless shelter plans

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Elected representatives of West Valley City and surrounding areas have published an open letter to Salt Lake County for their opposition to the possible homeless shelter in West Valley City.

The letter’s authors Senators Karen Mayne, Luz Escamilla, and Daniel Thatcher, along with Representatives Angela Romero and Elizabeth Weight address how West Valley City has already taken in vulnerable populations. Excluding Ogden, the city has taken all the state’s halfway houses and, the letter said, to put the proposed shelter in West Valley City will upset the growth and development that the city has already achieved.

West Valley has just begun to reap the rewards of sustainable growth and economic development in their community, the letter states.

“As Utah’s second-largest city, West Valley City is vital to our state’s success in navigating the challenges we will face together as our population doubles in the coming decades,” The letter said. “However, the suddenly announced plan to place a large homeless shelter in West Valley without prior discussion with city leaders, threatens to upset the progress that we have made. Our residents and business owners have made it clear that they do not want to be forced to become the site of a homeless shelter, particularly one as large as is being proposed.”

West Valley City is currently home to over 33,000 affordable housing units and, the representatives argue, should not bear the sole responsibility of providing services that should be scattered throughout the state.

“West Valley City is part of the economic engine that makes Utah great. We are doing our fair share to ensure that our residents can find work, support their families, and live in a community that is safe, diverse, and welcoming. We strongly encourage Salt Lake County and their partners to return to the drawing board and come up with a solution that does not simply sweep the state’s homeless population onto the west side of the county where they will be out of sight and out of mind,” the letter said.