The Road Home

Helping people step out of homelessness and back into our community.

BY CELESTE EGGERT , DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

According to the National Alliance to end homelessness, there are 578,424 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States The 2016 Utah Point-in-Time Count estimates 13,460 people will experience homelessness in Utah this year; 11,798 of those will be along the Wasatch Front. An ongoing need for emergency shelter exists to provide the critical, temporary refuge for individuals and families.

Originally established as the Traveler’s Aid Society in 1923, The Road Home changed its name in 2001 to better reflect our mission of helping people step out of homelessness and back into our community. The Road Home is a private, non-profit social service agency that assists individuals and families with children experiencing homelessness in Salt Lake County and along the Wasatch Front. As the largest operator of emergency shelter in Utah, we are adept at providing emergency services, shelter, case management, and housing solutions. Emergency shelter can be a critical first step toward overcoming homelessness.

We remain deeply committed to:
• Providing everyone seeking our services a safe, stable environment off the streets and sheltered from the elements
• Offering our supportive services to help connect people with community resources
• Helping people successfully transition into housing as quickly as possible

Emergency shelter is generally a last option for people who have exhausted all possible resources, both financial and personal. The National Alliance to End Homelessness’ The State of Homelessness in America 2015 notes, “For the most part, people who ultimately become homeless have strained financial resources and are challenged by the cost of housing.”

As the largest operator of emergency shelter in Utah, The Road Home provides emergency services, basic shelter and housing programs. These services work to interrupt the cycle of homelessness and assist individuals and families with children to re-enter housing in our community. This pipeline of service is critical to helping people get back on their feet after a period of homelessness. Our agency operates under a Housing First model, an evidence-based best practice which demonstrates that moving households out of homelessness as quickly as possible, then providing services as needed is the best way to end homelessness for all populations. According to The National Alliance to End Homelessness, “For these families and individuals, the Housing First approach is ideal, as it provides them with assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions. In turn, such clients of the homeless assistance networks need surprisingly little support or assistance to achieve independence, saving the system considerable costs.”

The Salt Lake Community Shelter, in downtown Salt Lake City, operates 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Our Midvale Center shelter has historically operated only seasonally during the coldest months of the year, allowing us to expand the services of our year-round Salt Lake Community Shelter. Through our partnership with the state and Midvale City, we are able to expand from providing temporary winter shelter. It is our intent to keep the Midvale Center open year round for families. A 2015 capital build project of our Midvale facility opened in November allowing us to offer a cleaner, more uplifting environment for approximately 300 people nightly; well over half of whom are children. During FY15, we provided 372,073 nights of shelter to 7,219 individuals through our combined shelter programs. We anticipate serving more people now that our Midvale shelter can operate year-round.

Once in shelter, clients can access case management services that assist in connecting to public benefits, substance abuse treatment, mental health assessment and treatment, job training and development, childcare services, housing assistance and more. Additionally, our agency has offices on-site from the Veteran’s Administration, Department of Work Force Services and Valley Behavioral Health Services. All our services are aimed at helping clients successfully transition into housing. Once in housing, many clients receive ongoing services as needed to ensure they do not return to homelessness.

The Road Home, along with state and local government leaders, business, and nonprofit partners are participating in a Collective Impact Model which is a plan for system-wide, coordinated strategies that offer effective service delivery to homeless individuals and families. All of our programs align with Salt Lake County’s identified outcomes for homeless services. The Road Home has many formal and informal partnerships with other service providers within our community.

The Road Home has many ways to become involved. We welcome monetary as well as in-kind donations as well as volunteers. For information about donating or volunteering, please visit The Road Home website at www.theroadhome.org or call 801-819-7291.