Commission approves plans for women's resource center

Rendering of the proposed 700 South Homeless Resource Center. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.

One of the two proposed Homeless Resource Centers (HRC) has cleared its final significant administrative hurdle, clearing the way for construction to begin.  On Wednesday, March 28, the Salt Lake City Planning Commission approved a Conditional Use request for the center proposed for the 100 East block of 700 South that will serve women experiencing, or at risk of homelessnesses.

Both resource centers were on the agenda but the commission voted to table the request for the second center proposed for the 200 West block of High Avenue.   After multiple residents expressed concerns about the center’s proposed orientation to the street.

The city has started the demolition and building permit applications for both centers, proposed for 131 E.  700 South and 275 W. High Avenue.  The 131 East Center will exclusively house and serve women.  The 275 West Center will house both men and women.

City officials have argued that the reduced number of emergency beds will be sufficient because of the city and county’s adjusted approach to addressing homelessness that includes proactively working families and those at risk of homelessness before they would need emergency beds in a shelter.

AJC Architects designed both resource centers and the city will build both buildings to energy efficient standards.  The resource centers will each provide 200 emergency beds and will share a similar layout.  The resource centers will be two-stories with emergency beds, a large courtyard, dining area, kitchen, donation room, client services offices, clinical exam room, large hygiene room with showers and small retail area on the ground floor.  The second floors will include a break room, conference room, offices and a computer workstation area.

The key difference between floor plans for both resource centers is that the High Avenue Center will have emergency beds and hygiene areas on both floors to serve men and women in separated areas.

The High Avenue center will front two small midblock streets, High Avenue to the north and Paramount Avenue to the south.  Residents worried that having the main entrance to the center on High Avenue would create more safety issues than having the entrance on the longer Paramount Avenue.

Commission members felt that the city’s police department had not had the opportunity to evaluate if orientating the project toward Paramount would mitigate the project’s impact on the neighborhood.  The commission tabled the project to give the police department time to study relocating the center’s main entrance.

The Planning Commission will revisit the High Avenue center’s conditional use request on April 11th.  The city will have to move quickly with construction as its sole shelter, the Road Home, is slated to close in June 2019.

*This is an updated version of a previous post.

Rendering of the proposed High Avenue Homeless Resource Center. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
Revised ground floor plan for the proposed 700 South Homeless Resource Center. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
Revised second floor plan for the proposed 700 South Homeless Resource Center. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.

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