A safe zone space on Rio Grande Street is critical to the success of Operation Rio Grande.
The Safe Space will be located in the fenced-off portion of Rio Grande Street directly between The Road Home shelter and the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall and Weigand Center. This area already functions as a de facto service space because clients must cross the street daily to access disconnected services (beds on one side of the street; meals and employment and ID services on the other).
The closed portion of the street does not prevent direct and through access to any business, not profit or cultural organization in the area.
The street closure and safe zone space is critical to the medium and long-term goals of Operation Rio Grande, in addition to the immediate on-the-ground efforts to improve the area and prepare for the new resource centers and service system changes being implemented across the county and the state.
Shelter is not the solution to homelessness. The plan being implemented by the state, Salt Lake County, and Salt Lake City includes significant funding for housing, residential rehabilitation facilities for men and women, healthcare and behavioral healthcare – all of which prevent and reduce the length of homelessness and keep people exiting homelessness on a path of self-sufficiency.
As a long-planned element of the joint efforts to reduce homelessness and improve public safety in the area, closing the street has been identified as critical to efforts by all stakeholders.