Salt Lake County opens transitional living building for homeless or at-risk young adults

A ribbon is cut led by Rotary Club President-Elect Spencer Ferguson and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson in celebration during the grand opening of the Salt Lake County Youth Services Milestone transitional living building in Millcreek on Friday.

A ribbon is cut led by Rotary Club President-Elect Spencer Ferguson and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson in celebration during the grand opening of the Salt Lake County Youth Services Milestone transitional living building in Millcreek on Friday. (Marielle Scott, Deseret News)


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MILLCREEK — Up to 18 young adults facing homelessness will be able to move in to brand-new transitional housing units in Millcreek in the coming weeks as Salt Lake County officials celebrated the opening of the facility on Friday.

The facility, located in a nondescript apartment building on Highland Drive, will also provide office space for case managers, a therapist and live-in house manager, the county said, in an effort to provide full support services on site. Eighteen- to 21-year-olds who are at risk or experiencing homelessness can reside there for up to 18 months while trying to get back on their feet.

"If we don't get up every day and work with incredible staff members, partners and do what we can to problem-solve, who are we as a community?" asked Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. "And I feel very lucky to live in a state, a county and a community that does care and is just problem-solving."

The effort is part of the county's Milestone program, which is meant to provide safe, stable environments to help people transition to independent living. Eighty-three percent of participants have successfully transitioned into housing and employment or education at the end of the program, county officials said.

The Millcreek facility will focus on helping youth who are aging out of foster care.

The idea for the housing facility began more than four years ago, according to Spencer Ferguson, the president-elect of the Salt Lake Rotary Club, which partnered with the county to make it happen.

"We didn't know it would take this long, but it's been so worth it," he said.

Each unit includes three separate bedrooms and two shared bathrooms as well as a kitchen and living room. As residents move out of the facility, they will be given kits of basic items including dishes and utensils, bath linens, hygiene kids, bedding and cleaning supplies donated by community partners.

As some communities have balked at hosting resource centers for those experiencing homelessness, Wilson commended Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silvestrini for his willingness to allow the project in his city.

"This particular home is in his community," she said. "And also, Mayor Silvestrini has been a mentor to other mayors and letting them understand that facilities, homeless overflow, all of the things that we need to build in our community to get people off of the street on the right path and safe are things that cities need to embrace."

"We are proud to have this facility," Silvestrini said. "So, not only will this facility improve the lives of the people who reside here, but it also offers the prospect of making our entire society and my city better."

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Bridger Beal-Cvetko covers Utah politics, Salt Lake County communities and breaking news for KSL.com. He is a graduate of Utah Valley University.

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