SALT LAKE CITY — An assisted living center for the homeless is set to open in a neighborhood on 12th East and 13th South.
On Friday, June 1st, The Inn Between will take over the space that was once occupied by the Hillside Rehabilitation Center.
Residents who live nearby have concerns about a facility dedicated to serving the homeless opening in their neighborhood.
“I can understand compassion, but you never put safety before compassion,” said Sophia Anderson, a long time resident of the Harvard-Yale neighborhood.
Anderson has handed out about 600 fliers in the neighborhood detailing her concerns with the assisted living facility. She lives just a few blocks away from the Inn Between.
“We are going to have 121, possibly 121 homeless, ill people,” Anderson said.
She believes the facility will be more like a homeless shelter, attracting drugs and crime to the neighborhood, causing it to deteriorate.
“We chose to live in this neighborhood," she said. "It’s the same thing as if a Walmart moved in, but it’s a much higher risk than a Walmart,” Anderson said.
The Inn Between says those fears are premature.
“We are not a homeless shelter,” said Kim Correa, the facility’s executive director. “People walk down the street and won’t even look at a homeless person or say, ‘Hey, hows it going.’ We treat them with kindness, dignity, respect and honesty.”
The facility is permitted to have 25 patients and could eventually expand to 75. Correa says all of the patients need a doctor's note to be admitted and many are too sick to even leave the facility.
“We haven’t even moved in and they are citing all these issues,” she said. “Its an unfounded fear.”
Correa says many of the items discussed in Anderson's flier are exaggerated and she hopes once the facility opens, people in the neighborhood will see that the patients won’t cause any problems.
Anderson is speaking with a lawyer, and plans to bring legal action to prevent the Inn Between from expanding. She’s ready to take extreme measures and move out if she notices the neighborhood becoming unsafe.
“If we can’t fight this, my husband and I will be looking for somewhere," she said. "But the problem is, I promise you, this is coming everywhere,” Anderson said.