What is driving the requirement to establish a homeless shelter in Davis County?
The Utah Legislature passed House Bill 499 (HB499) in 2023, which among other things, requires counties of the second class, including Davis County, to convene a Winter Overflow Taskforce to develop a winter response plan for providing shelter for homeless individuals between October 15 and April 30. Additionally, Davis County would be required to provide temporary shelter during a “Code Blue” to house unsheltered individuals on days when the temperature is forecasted to reach 15 degrees for a period of two hours or more during the coming 24-hour period.
Who makes the decision where within Davis County the shelter will be placed?
As required by HB499, the Davis County Council of Governments established a Winter Overflow Taskforce which includes seven Mayors and one County Commissioner. Kaysville Mayor Tamara Tran volunteered to participate on the Taskforce. The Taskforce is responsible for finding a suitable location for the Winter Overflow and Code Blue response shelter. The Taskforce is charged with identifying location(s) throughout the County for a Winter Overflow and Code Blue response shelter, but no decisions have been made.
Is Kaysville being considered as a location for a homeless shelter?
The Winter Overflow Taskforce is evaluating potential sites across the entire County. This process has been collaborative and has involved evaluating every possible option for fulfilling the requirements of the law. While the County’s emissions testing center at 20 North 600 West in Kaysville is one of a number of locations that has been discussed, the Taskforce has made no recommendations as to the County's response to the requirements of the current legislation including the site of a Winter Overflow and Code Blue response shelter.
Does Kaysville City have a say in where the shelter will be placed, and what is the City doing to look out for the best interests of the Kaysville community?
HB499 gives little control to individual cities as to where the Winter Overflow and Code Blue response shelter ultimately land. The Taskforce will recommend an option to the State of Utah Office of Homeless Services, which will decide whether that option fulfills the requirements of the legislation. The recommendation for a location will be decided by a majority vote of the eight members of the Taskforce, of which Kaysville Mayor Tamara Tran is a member.
While once again, the Task Force has made no recommendations as to the County’s response relating to the site of a Winter Overflow and Code Blue response shelter, Mayor Tran and the City Council recognize that Kaysville is not a suitable location for a shelter for a number of reasons. The Mayor and Council remain strongly opposed to a shelter in Kaysville and have never at any time advocated or supported any type of shelter in Kaysville.
The Taskforce does not believe that a temporary Winter Overflow and Code Blue response shelter addresses the root causes of homelessness in Davis County. The Taskforce’s preferred approach is a long-term community resource center with services and permanent supportive housing that helps homeless individuals stabilize and get back on their feet.
The Taskforce recommended that an appropriation request be made to the state legislature for $30 million dollars one-time funds and $2 million on-going to create a permanent solution for addressing homelessness in Davis County. The State legislature has not yet made a decision as to whether that appropriation request will be granted.
When will a decision be made?
The Taskforce is currently waiting to hear whether the State will fund the recommended appropriation request and change the legislation to provide additional time to develop a permanent solution. If no funding is provided and no changes are made to the legislation, the Taskforce will be legally required to submit a plan to the State by August 1, 2024 that outlines Davis County’s temporary Winter Overflow and Code Blue response.
How can Kaysville residents stay informed about this issue?
Please follow us at www.facebook.com/kaysvillecity/ or check our homepage under “Latest News & Events” at www.kaysville.gov for the latest information. You may also attend any city council meeting at 7:00 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of each month. The County’s proposed homeless shelter was posted and discussed as a work item on the January 4, 2024 City Council agenda. It was also discussed as a work item on the October 19, 2023 Council agenda as the County sought feedback from cities throughout Davis County about allowing billboards along I-15 as part of a proposal that would allow the County to purchase privately owned land for a homeless shelter in Clearfield. Although the homeless shelter topic will not be a work item at every council meeting, the City will report any notable updates from the County at each meeting. Residents are also always welcomed to provide public comment on this or any other topic at any city council meeting. Should you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.