Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Win Win we have been looking for!

Rescue mission plans to head west

Homeless haven » Crowded facility near Pioneer Park eyes a larger campus in the warehouse area.

By Derek P. Jensen

Thanks to: The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 12/06/2008 07:53:01 AM MST

For 30 years, the homeless and addicted could count on a sack lunch, a shower, a shave and sometimes a bed at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake near downtown's Pioneer Park.

The nondenominational nonprofit has served as a social-service anchor, along with the nearby Fourth Street Clinic, Catholic Community Services and The Road Home.

But despite performing mini-miracles for three decades, mission officials no longer can escape a nagging reality: Their place is too cramped, too broken down.

Quietly, the mission team has plotted an ambitious plan for the future. They recently bought five acres for a new campus -- it would quadruple the dorm space, double the recovery program and offer, for the first time, day care and
health care -- at 2945 W. 900 South. There also is an architectural effort to reconfigure 900 South for bus service in the industrial area if the Utah Transit Authority signs off.

But to pull off the move, the mission needs the city to endorse a zoning amendment that would allow residential use near the warehouses. A vote likely won't come before spring, but the city has organized a Dec. 18 open house to gather input.

"We really don't have an alternative. We put people in the chapel, in the hallways, wherever we can," says Stephen Trost, president of the mission. "The good news for the city is it relieves pressure on Pioneer Park."

Key to the move's success is expanding services beyond the ranks of the homeless to the
public at large. Trost notes talks are ongoing with third-party providers to establish a public health clinic and day-care facility. He argues the plan offers two amenities: new medical and dental services at no cost to the city, and child care for nearby manufacturers.

"There's a lot of need for people who work in those businesses for day care," Trost says.

City planner Nick Norris notes the area zoning must be changed since the West Salt Lake Master Plan does not allow residential use there. He expects the issue to go before the Planning Commission in January or February.

Fellow service providers say a move would require reliable transportation but otherwise would have a negligible impact.

"The only thing that saddens me is they're not going to be a hop, skip and jump away," says Jose Lazaro, director of emergency services for Catholic Community Services.

Monte Hanks, client services director for The Road Home, agrees. "I'd rather see them stay put because it's easier for their guys to get health care from us. But I understand the move, and it shouldn't disrupt anything."

Trost says the mission will partner with Volunteers of America to provide van service to the west-side campus. Design work also is under way to try to persuade UTA to run buses along a stretch of 900 South busy with heavy truck traffic.

"We're certainly open to hearing what they have to say," says UTA spokesman Chad Saley, adding that the decision will depend on ridership and resources. "If this met that criteria, then great."

Salt Lake City newcomer Johnny Scott, who is bunking at the mission while he looks for work, would welcome a bigger and newer building. "I don't think the distance from downtown would be that big of a deal," he says.

Besides the four new buildings -- to be built in phases -- the campus would include a swath of open space complete with basketball and volleyball courts, a track, horseshoes and a community garden.

Dormitory capacity would mushroom from 50 to 200, while room in the rehabilitation program would expand to 100, according to Chris Croswhite, a pastor and executive director at the mission.

"We are limited in how much room we have. We are limited in the age of the facility and the adequacy," Croswhite says. "We want to meet the needs of the addicted and the homeless and expand our services."

For years, Trost says, the mission has been saving money for the $20 million project -- $7.7 million of which is needed for phase one. Besides in-kind contributions, he says, cash has been pledged from private donors, law firms and a bank.

Trost says west-side community councils have seen the plan and voiced support.

Tribune photographer Steve Griffin contributed to this story.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Comments and my reaction to Prop 8 post

My post on Prop 8 REALLY ruffled some feathers and I received many ANGRY comments that I chose not to publish.
However there were two that I thought I should share so that it is clear why we disagree(I believe this is the all part of the conversation that is going on in our country currently as well)
So, the following is my response to the most tame of my reactions:

One reader wrote:
Without really getting into the Prop 8 thing, I would like to say that the LDS Church was not the only people in support of it! So they shouldn't be the only ones targeted for protest. Also blacks not holding the priesthood was not an oops thing! You know this! We as a church will not go against the Lord, and it is on His TIMING and in His PLAN that we follow! If you have a problem with His plan, you'll have to take it up with Him!

Yes the LDS church and people were not the only people and church to support Prop 8, just the largest(by way of monetary as well as member support) and since Utah is kind of the mother land, and I live here and disagree, I feel like my voice is kind of drowned out(and that some who know me and know I live in Utah may assume that I agree when I don't) Just as you believe that it is a church's right to tell their members to support something in politics many also believe that if they don't agree it is their right to protest(target as you put it)As the age old saying goes: If you are going to dish it you have to be able to take it.
The other major difference between our beliefs is that I don't think that God would want us to act this way to one another. My marriage and the marriage of a gay couple in no way threaten or lesson one another. If the churches don't want to recognize them that is THEIR choice but to restrict non religious rights based on religious beliefs is, in my opinion, a step in the wrong direction.
I have already taken it up with HIM and it should be noted that god and I are ok with me being Anti Prop 8.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Prop 8 World Wide Rally":

While you might not agree with Prop 8, the majority of Californians did. If had gone the other way, I would not have tried to sue to get it over turned. The people have voted, and that's what they want, whether you agree or not.
The LDS church was not involved in the vote, other than encouraging its members to support the proposition. And isn't that what churches are for? To tell its member what is right and wrong?
The LDS church didn't donate any money.
I think you are wrong in saying that one day the church will say "oops, we were wrong about gay marriage." It is a moral issue that will not change, and a practice that has always been condemned by God.
I realize you don't agree, and that's fine. That's your right, just as it is mine to believe the way I do.

Some good points, however there are a few things that are incorrect:
1)The LDS church did in fact send money to fund the Pro Prop 8 cause(they are currently, under investigation in California and they are in fact cooperating with the investigation siting that they were within the rules of churches getting involved for their cash donation, phone bank donations, ect)
2) I really don't think that just because the majority of Californians voted on something that we should just walk away-especially when there are suspicions of wrong doing and as you stated, everyone has the right to believe what they would like: that includes NOT agreeing with the LDS church on this point.

Next point:
You and I completely disagree when it comes to churches should tell their members how to vote on anything politically and especially when it is taking rights away from fellow Americans. We are going to have to agree to disagree on this one I am afraid.

The points I brought up(polygamy, blacks holding the priesthood and one I didn't mention interracial marriage) were all once moral issues in many churches and have now been changed(the churches stance is that well I guess: that God changed his mind for a lack of a better way of putting it)

In closing I wish to echo your own sentiment because it is where you and I completely agree:

"I realize you don't agree, and that's fine. That's your right, just as it is mine to believe the way I do."