Homeless Program Maligned 

In your attempt to shine a light on the dwindling grant funds available to organizations that provide health care to the homeless, I’d like to correct your gross mischaracterization of a program seeking to raise funds for the same programs. Your recent Hits & Misses column [“Makes You Sick,” Aug. 11, City Weekly] asserts that the new HOST parking meters “have collected all of $1,000 since their installation, which cost $40,000.” I’m not sure who’s checking your facts, but, as part of the committee that created this program, I can assure you that the costs to design, produce and install these meters amounted to no more than 10 percent of that figure.

The HOST program asks each community partner to sponsor a meter for $1,500, approximately $500 of which is set aside to cover the costs and maintenance of the meters. The remainder goes into the HOST account with the Pamela Atkinson Foundation, which will, in turn, grant the funds to qualified social-service providers in the community.

Zions Bank CEO Scott Anderson surprised everyone attending the HOST-meter kickoff in April by guaranteeing a $25,000 matching grant should the program raise an equal amount within six months. With 9 of 13 meters already sponsored, plus the $1,000 donated by the public through the meters, the HOST program holds great promise for making a difference in the lives of many people.

It is our hope that you will correct the Hits & Misses error, and we invite your reporter to cover the progress of the HOST program, including the collaboration it has inspired among the many social-service organizations, law enforcement and businesses who all wish to do their part to help the homeless transition into stable housing and productive lives.

Chris Burbank
Chief of Police
Salt Lake City

Editor’s note: The figure depicting the program’s cost was wrong. We apologize for the error.

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