North Ogden offering up old public works building for homeless families

Thursday , July 20, 2017 - 5:15 AM

MITCH SHAW, Standard-Examiner Staff

NORTH OGDEN — If everything goes according to plan, North Ogden’s vacant former public works building will soon be used to help homeless families in transition.

The North Ogden City Council is considering a proposal that would allow Family Promise of Ogden to lease space in the city’s old public works building, free of charge.

The non-profit organization is part of a national outfit that was founded in 1986 to serve homeless families trying to get on their feet. In the Ogden area, the organization teams with local churches to offer the families temporary refuge as they move from homelessness to independence.

RELATED: Ogden council approves agreement for homeless service at old fire station

According to a draft of the lease agreement, Family Promise would use the building as an “overnight host facility” for up to 14 people enrolled in the program.

North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor said the facility would typically be used by Family Promise one week at a time, no more than once every month. 

“This isn’t a homeless shelter,” the mayor said. “So we won’t be dealing with some of the typical challenges that come with shelters. This is a very targeted program for families that are homeless for a variety of circumstances that could really happen to anyone.”

Kathleen Engelby, a member of FPO’s board of directors, said the facility will provide families with meals, bedding and other daily living supplies while helping them find housing and employment. 

The building, which sits at 332 E. Pleasant View Drive, just north of the city’s commercial district, once housed the city’s fire and public works departments. The fire station portion of the building has been vacant for more than a decade. Taylor said the city’s public works department moved to a new site northwest of the old building in 2015. 

RELATED: Long-awaited public works building opening in North Ogden

In a memo to the council, North Ogden City Attorney Jonathan Call said the facility is ideal for the FPO operation because it already has existing bathroom and kitchen facilities. 

The draft contract requires the city bring the building’s bathrooms up to code, but Family Promise would be responsible for any other needed renovations like paint, carpet and other interior items. 

“It’s a great building for us, but it does need a little TLC,” Engelby said. “We will be looking to get some of our volunteers to help clean it up.” 

FPO will have several volunteers staffing the facility during weeks families stay there. The operation will be evening only, with families and volunteers working back at the main Family Promise facility in Ogden during daytime hours.

In March, Ogden city signed a one-year, zero-cost lease agreement with FPO that allows the organization to use an old city firehouse as their main operations center.  At the Ogden location, 340 Washington Blvd., FPO offers a place for families shower, eat, do laundry, pick up mail and search for jobs and housing. 

RELATED: Unused Ogden fire station could transform into day center for homeless families

Engelby said FPO is searching for other facilities to help expand the reach of the program. She hopes other city’s will follow Ogden’s and North Ogden’s lead to offer up unused space for homeless families. 

At their Tuesday meeting, the council voiced support for the proposal. A final vote on the measure will take place July 25.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mitchshaw.standardexaminer/.

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