Survey reveals homelessness growing in Cache Valley

FILE PHOTO

LOGAN – A government survey last week of Cache Valley’s homeless population found it is much larger than in any previous year.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development mandates the annual Point-In-Time survey in communities across the country. A record number of volunteers canvassed Cache, Box Elder and Rich counties three days last week and located 43 homeless heads of households and 16 minor children.

Dr. Jess Lucero, a Utah State University social work professor, is the university representative on the Local Homeless Coordinating Committee (LHCC). She said individuals were found in or near Cache Valley communities, staying in places she described as not fit for human habitation.

”We’re finding shelter in their cars in parking lots, at convenience stores, at work parking lots, at gym parking lots, at park and rides, transit centers,” she explained. “We also found folks at 24-hour spots, at storage units, sheds. Any place that is technically not fit for human habitation and often times that is defined as not having running water or heat.”

Dr. Lucero said BRAG (Bear River Association of Governments) administers the Rapid Re-Housing Program, helping to get families into housing, and CAPSA (Community Abuse Prevention Services) houses people who have experienced domestic violence.

“Homelessness is among us, in our community,” Dr. Lucero added. “Folks who are homeless are our neighbors, they are our acquaintances. We’re missing not just a homeless shelter, an emergency kind of response. But we’re missing on this other side, the critical component of a service system which is permanent support of housing.”

Dr. Lucero said half of surveyed households had been homeless for three months or less and just less than half were experiencing homelessness for the first time.

“The Bear River LHCC is committed to making homelessness rare, brief, and non-reoccurring in the Cache, Box Elder and Rich counties,” said LHCC Co-Chair Stefanie Jones.

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25 Comments

  • Karen January 30, 2020 at 11:17 pm Reply

    We have all these empty abandon building, like for instance Kmart, why cant we make them into shelters for the homeless? Heat and bathroom’s at least…

    • KA January 31, 2020 at 10:14 am Reply

      I think this is a fantastic idea!

  • Tommt January 31, 2020 at 5:45 am Reply

    Why is it our responsibility as tax payers to help those who do not help themselves? Where is the do nothing Mormon church in all of this. Ridiculous results if the failed left leaning politics of the valley.

    • Nathan January 31, 2020 at 12:23 pm Reply

      Let them die and lower the surplus population . . . is what I just read. I agree that the church does too little to help.

      My current homelessness is the result of mental health issues. Prior to realizing that I was unable to help myself, or even ask for help. I truly believed there were forces out to get me. I’m currently receiving treatment, and I believe I can be much more successful in the future. Until then I’d like to stop sleeping in a tent during the winter.

      • Tommt January 31, 2020 at 4:51 pm Reply

        Why is it the public responsibility to care for those who do not care for themselves? Why give to those who give nothing back to society. Parasites at best. What happened to personal responsibility. Ridiculous.

        • Nathan February 2, 2020 at 2:19 pm Reply

          My whole life I’ve been the person people came to for help. I’ve rarely asked for help for myself. When I first started asking I went to the church, friends and family. They all had your attitude, so I turned to the state. It’s really hard to keep my patients with people who are selfish and closed minded like you.

  • Allison R. Hall January 31, 2020 at 7:42 am Reply

    I was thinking this also Karen, why waste a building that could be helping the homeless.

  • Allison R. Hall January 31, 2020 at 7:43 am Reply

    I agree Karen, we just need to get support to do it.

  • Nathan January 31, 2020 at 9:45 am Reply

    I’m currently homeless. It’s my first time, going on 5 months. I’ve been approved for a program through BRAG for over a month. Landlords shut down all conversation at the first mention of BRAG. Several landlords seem to be decent, then deny me after credit checks. I was open about the bad credit and being with BRAG. They simply played along and allowed me to waste what little money I do have. This needs to be stopped.

  • Katie January 31, 2020 at 4:12 pm Reply

    To Tommt – how many of the people included in this group do you personally know? The ones that I know of – almost without exception – are doing all they can to help themselves. They work – sometimes multiple jobs – or are trying to get jobs (not easy without an address) and you may know some and have no idea because most of them go about trying to live like everyone else. Except they can’t. They can’t go to work in the morning and not worry about what happens after work or how they will eat that night without a kitchen and not spend any of their precious funds on fast food. They have to count each penny to try to somehow come up with enough to pay a first and last months rent and deposit – along with application fees for each place they try to get into. If they are lucky, they might qualify for help with some of that through BRAG, but they still have to find someone willing to work with them and rent to them. That’s a huge challenge – even if their jobs can support it – because there are simply not enough places available in this valley right now- especially ones that are affordable in cost. On top of that, these individuals have the extra burden of not having a current address to list on their applications and likely had some trauma in their life that made the paycheck to paycheck life not work anymore by a paycheck and they wound up upside down and inside out trying to regroup and catch up, but instead they were not quite fast enough and lost their home. But in the catch up scramble, they had nothing left available to help them now and likely ruined their credit and their last landlord may or may not offer any reccomendation for them to be accepted by a new landlord. How many traumatic events would it take for you or me to be in their very same shoes? Hopefully you have so much in savings and so many backup plans in place that you will never know what this experience is like, but if you do, perhaps you could consider looking around you with a helping hand and a word of encouragement rather than condemnation for those who already have way more than enough to deal with right now. And as for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I can tell you with absolute surety (this one I know) that these numbers would be even higher without the help that they offer to so many – not all of whom are even members of that faith.
    Now, am I saying that there are not any homeless people who dont care to try? Nope – there are lazy homeless people. But there are also lots of lazy people hanging out all over the place that just havent had their lifestyle leave them without a roof. Hopefully our politics and other factors will open ways for more affordable housing to be available in this valley and then perhaps these hard working people will be able to get to the point where they can go it on their own again, with a home to press forward in.

  • Tommt January 31, 2020 at 7:21 pm Reply

    So the billions in surplus the church has is helping who? We live in the greatest society in the greatest time in human history. If your poor or homeless now it’s your own fault. Don’t hold the productive accountable for those that can manage adversity. Your entire argument is simply surmised as people not dealing with problems of their osn creation. No “affordable” places in the valley? Fine. Leave. 2 jobs won’t pay a livable wage? Get a third or ditch the phone and the car you can’t afford. It is asinine to make excuses for this type of trash.

    • Nathan February 1, 2020 at 8:00 am Reply

      Just leave. Great advice. I hadn’t thought of that. I’m happy For you that your life has been so good for you that you have no need to care for others.

    • Stephanie February 1, 2020 at 10:23 am Reply

      To Tommt.
      You Sir are “asinine”!! What has made you such an angry, non-compassionate human?? May you never know the struggles of being homeless, and be met with people like YOURSELF!! You may want to put some kindness back into your heart. Seek some help from a professional to help you release some of your anger & hatred for other humans! Good luck! I’m rooting for you! ✌

      • Nathan February 2, 2020 at 2:22 pm Reply

        I’m beginning to doubt that you’ve read anything I wrote. Your comment confuses me if you did.

  • Tommt February 1, 2020 at 3:56 pm Reply

    Might read your Bible. Something about helping those who help themselves… Or go with George Sand.

    Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it.

    Nothing like an excuse to hold the masses down. Wah wah my life is hard. I’ve seen folks with no legs work at Walmart and people with crippling ptsd find means to be gainfully employed. Suck it up buttercup ain’t nobody gonna do it for you. By the way I don’t think it’s wise to assume my life has been easy or for that matter my gender. You folks know nothing of me. I happen to be a transgender pre op female (they/them) of color that has faced extreme bias and discrimination and never once let it stop me. You all are just a bunch of bigots and racists.

    • Nathan February 3, 2020 at 2:25 pm Reply

      I have read your responses. It is obvious you have no interest in having an open dialogue. Have a nice day.

    • Anonymous February 22, 2020 at 3:10 pm Reply

      You’re a liar and a troll. If you had ever faced the adversity that you claim to have dealt with, you wouldn’t act like this toward a group of people who are also discriminated against. Or you’re just a sociopath. Either way, the way you act is directly related to how you are treated. Act like a POS, get treated like a POS. That’s in the bible too.

  • Ryan Gaines February 1, 2020 at 10:31 pm Reply

    Nice troll job here, Tommt. Thanks for letting us all know you aren’t capable of rational thought and therefore should never be taken seriously. I call bull crap on literally everything you said. And here’s a suggestion – if you don’t like the “left leaning policies” then leave. We cache valley citizens don’t need your hateful kind around, and you certainly won’t be missed. Buh-bye now, Troll.

    • Tommt February 2, 2020 at 6:15 pm Reply

      Ryan is a racist sexist or mysoginist. Either way he should not be taken seriously. What an awful way to live one’s lif

  • Tommt February 2, 2020 at 5:16 pm Reply

    Ryan…..

    Way to show to your white male privilege. Rasist.

  • johnny February 3, 2020 at 4:36 pm Reply

    Check out tommt the unhinged troll….accuses everyone of their “failed left leaning politics”, then when people disagree with him/her/it, spouts on about white male priviledge…LMAO, tommt can’t decide which team to play on in multiple topics I guess.

    crawl back under the bridge troll.

  • Ttunac February 4, 2020 at 9:32 am Reply

    The median home price for US is $226,000. The median home price for CV is $237,000. The median household income for US is $63,000. The median household income for Logan is $51,000.
    “Logan Utah Household Income. The Census ACS 1-year survey reports that the median household income for the Logan Utah metro area was $52,974 in 2017, the latest figures available. Logan median household income is $15,384 lower than the median Utah household income and $7,362 less than the US median household income.”
    “The average income of a Cache County resident is $20,195 a year. The US average is $28,555 a year. – The Median household income of a Cache County resident is $50,367 a year.”
    This problem will get worse. The housing prices are outrunning the wages and local government are imposing taxes on speculative pricing. Logan has adopted the California formula.

  • El Tigre February 5, 2020 at 8:48 am Reply

    Hello everybody. I have a great idea!!!!! If we just put the homeless people in those wooden stock things, like in mideval movies, and throw tomatoes at them, they will get food, tomatoes!!!! that is food, problem solved

  • Dacks February 5, 2020 at 8:50 am Reply

    Tommt is a goofy guy

  • Sharon February 9, 2020 at 2:47 pm Reply

    What has happened to compassion and help your fellow man? My heart breaks to think that anyone in this country is without a home and decent shelter. Even more so for Cache County. Is this county not one of the most religious places in the U.S.? Do we not have a mandate from God to help the poor? There need not be one single person without a good place to live. And healthy food to eat. And adequate clothing. Basic human needs.

    Any good, decent, humane society will provide for those less fortunate. Does anyone seriously think that a person chooses to live on the street? Out in the elements? Without a proper place to lay their head at night? Think about this – most of the people in Cache are one paycheck away from being being on the streets. What happens if the breadwinner gets so sick they cannot get to work? Most employers are pretty heartless about such things, and fire the sick person. Can’t pay rent or mortgage – out on the street. A way to prevent this is to require all employers to provide adequate sick leave. To make things worse, employer health care is inadequate or nonexistent. Ever get a bill from a local hospital? Outrageously high. Can’t pay? Too bad. What little you have will be confiscated to pay a tiny fraction of the bill. Just mentioning one of the reasons a person/family may end up on the street.

    What about the disabled, either mental or physical? Those who have disabilities from childhood may have never had a chance to develop a work history, and must rely on Social Security. If they have had the opportunity to apply. Even still, the amount paid is so low that a normal living standard cannot be achieved. Low income housing in Cache is sorely lacking. So many disabled who do not have family to help are on the street. President Trump has been openly vocal about how he has reduced the number of those on food stamps. How does this translate in human terms? More people rely on the food bank. More people are starving. Right here in Cache.

    The government would have us believe that people choose to live on the street or are on the street because of their own poor choices. Poor choices may be sometimes responsible , but does this mean we can’t offer a hand up. Does anyone seriously believe anyone chooses to live on the street? Even the poor have a sense of dignity – perhaps saying they like living on the street helps to maintain dignity. Not everyone has the ability to feel as if they are begging.

    SO. The purpose behind my writing is to urge everyone to look around you. Is there anything you can do to help ease the suffering of others? The suffering we have today is a long term problem. It is a social problem that indicates the coming collapse of the moralistic society we have always lived in. More people are becoming hedonistic, and unwilling to help others. Those of us who maintain our principles need to make ourselves known by our actions and treatment of others.

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