SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers voted in favor of a bill to gather information on poverty and methods of preventing homelessness.
HB283, sponsored by Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, received unanimous support from the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee on Tuesday. The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.
The measure would clarify that funding from the Family Employment Program is meant to prevent families and children from becoming homeless. It also would provide funding for the Utah Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission to research the causes of homelessness and the methods of assisting those affected by it.
"We have been addressing (homelessness) holistically, but now what we want to do is we want to start focusing specifically on the areas that are adding to the homeless problem," Spendlove said.
Bill Tibbitts, an associate director for Crossroads Urban Center, spoke in favor of the bill during its presentation to the committee.
"Why is it that some kids end up in the shelter and some do not?" Tibbitts asked the committee. "We have a lot of data about pieces of the problem. We do not have a lot of data about how the problem emerges."
Pamela Atkinson, an advocate for the homeless, spoke in support of the bill, saying she's been working with young adults to help them through the trauma of being homeless.
"I’m not sure we really know the depths of the trauma that homelessness brings to so many people," Atkinson said.