Reducing Chronic Homelessness in Utah

The State of Utah has achieved its goal — 10 years in the making — to tackle chronic homelessness.

Chronic homelessness has decreased by 91 percent, from nearly 2,000 individuals in 2005 to 178 individuals [INFOGRAPHIC]. These individuals were identified in the 2015 statewide Point-In-Time count, conducted annually on the fourth Thursday in January.

"We know these 178 individuals by name. We know their situation and we can help them move out of chronic homelessness, if they choose," said Gordon Walker, director of Utah's Housing and Community Development Division within the Department of Workforce Services.

"We are only at this point because of the great work and partnerships with local communities, service providers, advocacy groups and volunteers who have cared about the individual, not the number."

Since 2005, state officials and numerous partners throughout the state have collaborated to improve methods in tracking and providing the most appropriate services to the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness. Utah is approaching "functional zero," which means there is a system in place to help connect chronically homeless individuals with housing resources.

A key initiative to this success was the implementation of the Housing First model, which combines housing with supportive treatment services in mental and physical health, substance abuse, education and employment.

Here's a sampling of news coverage about Utah's great success:

For more information about Utah's homelessness programming, visit

Photo Credit: Salt Lake Tribune | Al Hartman