The LDS Church donated $10 million to the nonprofit organization Shelter the Homeless on Nov. 2, a 30-year-old organization dedicated to aiding homeless individuals and families in Salt Lake City, according to Mormon Newsroom.
Samara Nichols, a freshman studying biology from Utah, said, “The issue of homelessness has been an increasing issue in Salt Lake for many years now. I think the church’s donation will help a lot of people who have very limited options for even just the basic human need of shelter.”
According to Deseret News, 2,850 Utah residents were identified as homeless in January of this year, a 1.6 percent increase from 2016. The donation will be taken from the Humanitarian Aid Fund of the church and will fund the construction and development of transitional housing to support a massive effort to respond to Utah’s homelessness.
“As followers of Christ, it's our responsibility to help those in need. I think it was a great idea,” said Andrew Storer, a junior from California studying marketing.
This is one of nine total donations that have come in the past decade to fight homelessness in Salt Lake City, Deseret News reports. The nine donations have totaled a sum of $52 million.
Dalton Brough, a junior studying human resources at BYU, said in a phone interview, “I see this as a win-win for all parties involved. Those funds will aid the homeless and provide them with the resources they need for a fresh start.
“Salt Lake City wins because their cleaner streets will drive tourism and help them ultimately become a safer place to live and work. The LDS Church wins because it shows they are committed to both the community in which they are headquartered as well as the Savior’s mission of love and service. Well done to the church for putting their money where their mouth is.”
Deseret News also stated that Gail Miller, the owner of the Utah Jazz, announced in August that her family will match up to $10 million in donations for new homeless shelters built in 2019 to support the need in Utah.
The church released a statement on Nov. 9 that states, "We continue to look for ways to support this effort. For example, discussions are ongoing with respect to our Deseret Industries store at 130 East and 700 South in Salt Lake City. The church has offered the city the option to purchase this property to be used as a future homeless resource center. We are also exploring options for a new Deseret Industries store to address downtown patron and associate needs."
Bishop Gérald Caussé, presiding bishop of the LDS Church, said in the press release, "Homelessness affects all sectors of our communities. Around the world, we join hands and hearts with dozens of partners engaged in alleviating suffering in their respective communities, and in the process we point people toward greater self-reliance."