Salt Lake City doesn't have enough emergency shelter space or food for the poor and homeless. But it is still in better shape than most other big cities nationally.
That's according to a survey of 30 large cities released Monday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.Salt Lake City was the only one where neither requests for emergency shelter or for food had increased. But they hadn't decreased either - they merely stayed the same.
Nationally, 83 percent of cities reported increased requests for emergency food assistance, and 80 percent reported increased requests for emergency shelter. None reported decreased requests. Only a few (besides Salt Lake City) reported requests stayed the same in either category.
Salt Lake City was also among only a third of the cities that reported their resources for helping the needy had increased - saying it enjoyed more food donations, funds and volunteers.
Still, city officials responding to the survey warned, "Demand exceeds available supplies. There is still a need for additional funding and staffing."
Salt Lake City is among the 53 percent of cities that report they don't always have enough emergency food supplies and among the two-thirds of cities that say they don't have sufficient shelter space - and sometimes turn away the needy.
"Sometimes food supplies are limited and the number and frequency of visits (to food banks) are restricted. The problem is especially severe at the end of each month when food stamp allotments have been exhausted," city officials wrote.
When it comes to shelters, Salt Lake City was among the 87 percent of cities that sometimes had to turn homeless families away because of a lack of space.
But the city wrote, "The number of requests for emergency shelter in Salt Lake City increased 25 percent each year in 1991 and 1992, 9 percent during 1993, and has remained fairly stable during 1994.