Why Re-Think Homelessness?

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Gospel helps the homeless
by Jamy Corbett The Leader March 10th 1999

A young woman has known nothing but drugs and abuse her whole life.  Now she has a chance to get off the streets and away from the addiction, but it isn't an easy choice.  She has an opportunity to enter a residential program.  All she has to do is have a short telephone interview but she can't do it.  The streets, the only home she has known, call her back. The Salt Lake City Mission was trying to help place the woman in a residential program in another state.  Currently, they only have a residential program for men.

Phil Arena, former development director for the Salt Lake City Mission, said this is the reality on the streets of Salt Lake. It is hard for the addicts to leave their lifestyles when they can step out of the mission and back into drug abuse.



The Salt Lake City Mission, a non-denominational Christian organization, has purchased 1,640 acres nine miles south of Lucin. and have started  to build a mission and combined work ranch in western Box Elder County. The mission would serves as a residential treatment program for the homeless wanting to change their lives.

The land used to be a farm and has a well and septic system. The construction will take place in five phases.

Phase one includes establishing temporary housing, using the existing water and septic systems. This phase also includes fencing the land, planting crops, and beginning construction of the chapel and recreation hall.

The mission hopes to complete the project in five years with crops, an irrigation system, housing and graveling roads. Another goal would be to have a rural medical clinic separate from the mission. The clinic could be used by residents of western Box Elder County. The Box Elder County Commission approved the concept plan in February.

In order to qualify for the proposed program in Box Elder County, an individual has to remain sober for 30 days, have a physical, and commit their lives to a change.

Entering the residential program is a person's choice, and they can leave whenever they want. "If they want to walk out (of the Box Elder Mission) it's fine, but they have a long way to walk," Arena said.

The mission will provide job training skills, work and a place to escape the drugs and alcohol. Arena said the program lasts anywhere from eight to 18 months.

The program focuses on overcoming the drugs and problems through a Christ-centered life.

They know the program can work.


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