Meet the homeless
"I am your sales clerk, I am your mechanic, I am your co-worker, I am your neighbor, I am your child's friend and I may be your family. I am homeless."
You may be surprised who our clients really are:
Last year we provided over 67,000 shelter nights, spread among approximately 2,100 individuals and 500 families. Those to whom we provided shelter represent four different types of clients: Those who were not involved in our program, rather only stayed overnight for one or more nights in the 'Overflow' shelter; those who stayed for four nights during entry to our program or for other reasons; Residents enrolled and participating in our formal program; and families.
Not surprising, most of our clients are of working age. Many of them have lost their jobs for one reason or another and enroll in our program to get back on their feet and become participating citizens of the Northern Utah Community. Note that figures shown are for families and residents as described above.
This chart shows the distribution of Residents by race. Frankly, many people seeing this for the first time are surprised that the vast majority are white. However, that is not too unexpected given the racial demographics of Utah itself and that homelessness can be a problem within any group.
The changing face of those we serve:
The need to provide food and shelter to some portion of the community is as old as communities themselves, and it is unlikely that the need will go away. What has changed significantly in recent years is the demographics of those needing our services. There are many more families coming to Lantern House than there have been in previous years. The population of transient, chronic homeless remains fairly stable while those whose situation is more acute is rising significantly. Our programs and staffing have been re-oriented to serving the latter and are meeting with increasing success. Given the economic situation and related predictions for the next several years, Lantern House will continue to focus services on the acutely homeless and assisting in getting them back to stable and sustainable conditions, while still meeting the immediate needs of the chronically homeless.