Poverty and homelessness are apparent here, as in every city. Luke believes that our community in SLC is uniquely prepared to meet this challenge and make a real difference in how we include our most vulnerable citizens in society. We must also keep in mind the neighborhoods where services are located, not allowing any single one to be disproportionately burdened with responsibility. As the downtown councilman for 8 years, Luke is the only candidate with the knowledge--and the will--to lead the city into a new era of homes and jobs for all.
With committed partners in state and county governments, as well as in the business, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, a Garrott administration will make measurable and meaningful progress on this issue. We will incorporate many of the results of the current conversations we’re having in SLC about homelessness. Currently, Luke sees a need for new and redesigned buildings, bolstered outreach and supportive services, and a wider array of housing options. We need to massively expand access to mental health and rehabilitative services, lowering barriers for people to find the support they need.
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Luke understands the importance of work to make meaning in people’s lives, and will advocate for “a room and a job” programs that can go a long way in getting a person off the streets. The city can partner with existing non-profits who offer flexible employment for people who have significant difficulties holding down a normal 8 to 5 job. There are also exciting new ideas in mini-housing, where a small unit that costs $5000 offers a clean, safe place place for people in transition. Luke will put mini-house communities into our housing policy. If these communities are self-ruling, requiring individuals to be participants in setting the rules for the community, they offer a therapeutic step toward self-sufficiency. The city's role is to make them part of housing policy: create zoning to allow them and help fund them.
Residents and businesses located near the homeless shelter in the Rio Grande neighborhood have many concerns regarding the current location of homeless services, particularly the intense drug trade in their neighborhood. Their concerns do not go unheard. Real community-based policing is needed, with more police out of their cars and on the street. We also need more room in the county jail, and Luke will work to make sure that people arrested on felony drug charges aren’t let out on the street just because we don’t have jail space. We can alleviate pressures on the neighborhoods where services are offered, and do a better job as a community in how we treat our least well-off.
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