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New 84 Unit Apartments Will Help Chronic Homeless
Recently government leaders, Utah philanthropists and poverty advocates took a big step toward solving chronic homelessness by opening an 84-unit apartment building in South Salt Lake City. The new development, Grace Mary Manor, will provide permanent housing to men and women. The future residents who have been homeless for a year or longer have often suffered from mental-health problems, drug addiction or physical disabilities. "This is housing with low demands to help them deal with their issues," said Lloyd Pendleton, the director of Utah's Homeless Task Force. "It gives them a chance to feel at home."
The Grace Mary Manor development is evidence of a changing homeless advocacy philosophy, Pendleton said. Traditionally, the homeless are served first on the street, then in emergency shelters, then helped into temporary housing before they get permanent homes. The new philosophy, dubbed "housing first," advocates first providing stable housing, then providing services. The housing first philosophy is based on research that providing permanent housing is cheaper than providing the chronically homeless with emergency services.
Only about 13 percent of Utah's 13,000 homeless people are chronically homeless. That small percentage consumes 64 percent of resources used by the entire homeless population. The apartments at Grace Mary Manor are studio apartments, furnished with a leather armchair, a television with a DVD player, a kitchen and bathroom. Additional amenities in the development include an exercise room, a library, computers, a health clinic, counseling rooms, and a community room equipped with multiple leather sofas and a big-screen television. Grace Mary Manor is the second project development dedicated to serving the chronically homeless in Salt Lake County. Sunrise Metro Apartments opened last year, in Salt Lake City and have proved successful. The 100 unit Sunrise Metro Apartments opened last year in Salt Lake City and has been a tremendous success.
A 45-year-old former homeless woman who will be among the Manor's first residents said "I am overwhelmed". "I'm so excited I am going to have this kind of stuff in my life. It's a gift from God and the community, with everybody working together." She previously lived in a tent near the Jordan River for three years. She was forced to leave an abusive relationship and subsequently got involved in drugs. But with help from homeless advocates and a stint in detox, she is ready to move on. "I'm going to be able to go to school".
"There is nothing like the dignity that a home provides — a permanent home," said Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. during the opening celebration.
HUD funding was used from many local government entities to support the construction and ongoing operations of Grace Mary Manor. HUD funding for the development included:
For on going operation:
Attending the grand opening were representatives from many organizations that contributed to the successful construction of the development including:
Pamela Atkinson, Homeless Advocate
Persons interested in the services of Grace Mary Manor should contact one of the following organizations:
Content Archived: April 11, 2011