A Guide for the Homeless in Utah

Homelessness, a significant and complex social issue, is not exempted in the state of Utah as well. Understanding the situation, contributing factors, and the available resources are essential steps in finding stable housing solutions. This article aims to provide a helpful guide for individuals experiencing homelessness in Utah, diving into the reality of homelessness, causes, and available assistance programs and shelters within the state.

The State of Homelessness in Utah

Historically, Utah had reduced its chronic homelessness numbers significantly over the past couple of decades through a series of targeted initiatives and policies. However, in recent years, there has unfortunately been an uptick in these numbers. People facing homelessness in Utah vary in age, gender, and ethnicity, including individuals, families, and veterans. Recent data from the Utah Department of Workforce Services indicates a rise in homelessness numbers, including a rise of about 12% in family homelessness in 2019. This includes children, single mothers, and intact families.

Causes of Homelessness in Utah

Causes of homelessness in Utah mirror many similar issues across the country. Some of the key factors include a lack of affordable housing, unemployment, persistent poverty, domestic violence, and limited access to affordable healthcare. The opioid crisis has also impacted the number of homeless individuals in Utah. Over the past decade, rent and housing prices have significantly outpaced wages, leaving many unable to secure stable housing.

State Government Assistance Programs

The State of Utah has several programs designed to provide assistance to individuals experiencing homelessness. These programs vary but primarily include housing assistance, employment and training services, disability benefits, veterans programs, and many more. They are executed by different departments including the Utah Department of Workforce Services and the Utah Department of Health.

The Utah State Community Services Office provides grants to non-profit shelters under the Emergency Solutions Grants program. These funds can be used to support emergency shelters and homelessness prevention projects across the state.

Homeless Shelters in Utah

Utah boasts numerous shelters spread across the state that provides a variety of services. Individuals experiencing homelessness, families, and veterans can find help in these shelters. Provisions may include emergency shelter, food, clothing, medical care, counseling services, and resources to help secure stable housing.

Eligibility for services may vary by shelter and program, and most will require Utah residency. However, people in immediate need or crisis are usually not turned away. With different types of shelters such as emergency overnight, transitional, cold weather, and others, individuals and families are encouraged to reach out for assistance regardless of their circumstances.

Unique Features of Homeless Shelters in Utah

One unique feature about shelters in Utah is their response to homelessness among families. Family Promise of Salt Lake, for instance, focuses on both homeless families and those on the brink, providing prevention services to avoid homelessness. They provide temporary shelter for families, case management, and assistance with job searching and training.

Another interesting initiative is The Road Home, which offers the unique Housing Not Jail program catering to those experiencing homelessness who have interacted with the justice system. The program works to provide stable housing solutions and reduce recidivism.

Furthermore, there are several shelters especially designed to serve veterans, such as Valor House in Salt Lake City, offering a special program that includes substance abuse counseling, mental health treatment, and job placement assistance.


Homelessness in Utah, like everywhere, is a complex issue which is being tackled from several different angles. It is encouraging to see the many diverse programs and agencies in Utah that are working hard to combat homelessness and support those in need. Those experiencing homelessness should reach out to these resources, knowing there's help available.

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