homepage logo

Letter: In solving homelessness, look toward the faithful

Feb 10, 2024

The Pew Research Center has reported the largest decline in Church attendance in American history, with forty million Americans, 12% of our republic’s population, abandoning regular church attendance since 2003. Since 2019, church attendance has fallen a percentage point a year to a mere 30%, down from 42% as recently as 2009. In Utah alone, Gallup reports a staggering 10% drop in church attendance since 2015. In that same timeframe, homelessness in Utah has increased by 30%.

During my time experiencing homelessness, I was touched by the LDS Church’s willingness to help my family get back on its feet despite not being personally LDS in our faith. Indeed, religious institutions are consistently on the forefront of our response to the homelessness crisis, starkly seen recently in Salt Lake City’s First United Methodist Church, which has opened its doors for the unsheltered on nights below 25 degrees in partnership with the Second & Second Coalition. The decline of churches as community institutions has contributed to the weakening of our democracy, an increase in vitriolic rhetoric, and a loss of important safety nets that unite people in good works inspired by a shared faith in a divinity transcending all worldly divides.

Shiv Parihar

Salt Lake City


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)