In 2015, the population of chronically homeless people in Utah had dropped by 91%. A decade prior, Utah had set forth a goal to end chronic homelessness. The news of this incredible drop in the homeless problem reached national headlines, which promoted other states to look at what Utah, and more specifically, Salt Lake City, was doing. The first step in Utah’s plan was to crack down on crime. Buyers and sellers of drugs were arrested, police presence was increased, they added more undercover narcs, and there were six to twelve permanent bike patrols in the Salt Lake area. Their next step was to tackle the root of the homeless problem. They placed eight civilian case workers in the downtown Salt Lake City area that helped the homeless with jobs, mental illness, and substance abuse recovery. Just two years later in 2017, the homeless issue in Salt Lake City had become a massive problem once again. So what happened? According to an article from The Guardian, “Rather than ending homelessness, the city in fact housed a subset of its homeless residents, an important step but only an intermediary one in its alleviation efforts. Since then, as rents have risen and the minimum wage has remained stagnant, more and more families have found themselves on the street. A count last year found about 2,200 people in the region in total on any one night.” Officers arrested over 1200 individuals, half of them being on drug charges, but 900 were later released back to the streets. Those leading the operation have stated help for the homeless residents is coming. Help in the form of jobs, housing, and treatment. However, in the weeks after the launch, officials were only able to line up 37 treatment beds. What residents have been noticing is that the homeless individuals that used to be crowded around the Salt Lake City emergency shelter have now spread out. The location had become an easy target for police to find and arrest individuals committing crimes. Once it became known that the police were cracking down on those in the area, they scattered. Rather than seeing them in the area once dubbed Salt Lake’s Skid Row, there are now homeless near the airports and even in the empty fields on the west side of the city. The scattering homeless has now opened the public’s eye to the extreme problem that faces Salt Lake City. It also makes it harder for officials to actually provide help to those who need it. If you or a loved one needs addiction or mental health treatment contact us at 888-986-7848.