The effort of local leaders has paid off in returning homeless shelter funding to rural shelters. HB 203 ‘Homeless Shelter Funding Revisions’, sponsored by Representative Scott Chew and in the Senate by Senator Ron Winterton, was signed into law by Governor Herbert enabling the state definition of a “homeless shelter” to allow for a lower bed count so rural areas qualify for the funding. The bill was approved unanimously in the House and Senate committees as well as on the House and Senate floors. Vernal City Manager Quinn Bennion explains how this change repairs the previous oversight of state law. “The bill reduced the number of beds required in rural county shelters to be eligible for homeless funding,” shares Bennion. “The bill removes the requirement that Vernal City pay $18,200 a year to the State homeless mitigation fund.” That funding now stays local and instead will stay with Vernal’s Turning Point Shelter. Any rural area with a homeless shelter will also benefit. In addition to the work of Rep. Chew and Senator Winterton, Uintah County Commissioner Brad Horrocks, Vernal City Mayor Doug Hammond, City Manager Quinn Bennion, and Turning Point Shelter director Susi Anderson were involved in promoting and testifying for the bill during the 2019 legislative session.
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