SALT LAKE CITY — Nine of 16 cities in Salt Lake County, as well as the unincorporated county, will contribute to the inaugural homeless services fund.
The Salt Lake County Council on Tuesday approved agreements with nine cities participating in the program. The council also OK'd the unincorporated county's participation in the fund, which was proposed to the Salt Lake County Council of Governments by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker earlier this year.
The participating communities are Alta, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Herriman, Holladay, Midvale, Murray, Riverton and Salt Lake City. As proposed, the funding will be used to create and fund an ongoing regional program for homeless services in the county.
Under the agreements with participating cities, the county will establish and administer the fund, said Jeremy Keele, senior adviser to Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. The Council of Governments will recommend how to spend the money.
The new funding stream will not supplant homeless service funding presently provided by the county or certain cities. However, it acknowledges that funding services for the homeless is a countywide responsibility, Keele said.
"It's one-time money. Every year this would be subject to appropriation. Next year, you may have more or fewer cities opting in," he said.
The funding, Keele said, is "the first injection of new money in quite a while. I think there's some interesting new ideas that will be presented" when the county issues a request for proposals.
Once the dedicated fund is established, Keele said he believes it will be an easier sell for mayors to their respective city councils. Some city councils opted not to participate because of other budget priorities or because they contribute to service providers in other ways, he said.
"Next year there will be something to point to. There will be a track record," Keele said.