On April 6, the anniversary of the Church's organization, the First Presidency released a statement on homelessness. In our Church history, many Saints have been forced from their homes due to persecution or poverty, but homelessness continues to be a serious concern today.
The First Presidency's statement reads:
Homelessness is a tragic condition that afflicts individuals and even families in many places, including Utah. The causes are varied, and solutions are often difficult, but whether homelessness stems from conflict, poverty, mental illness, addiction or other sources, our response to those in need defines us as individuals and communities.
We are grateful for the willingness of government, community and civic leaders to tackle this issue. We applaud their continuing efforts to find solutions that will not only relieve the suffering inherent in homelessness but also implement measures that will help homeless individuals become self-reliant and deal with criminal elements that prey on the homeless.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints feels keenly a responsibility to help in a Christlike way and has participated in efforts to address homelessness for many years, particularly in the Salt Lake Valley. Our farms and facilities provide food, clothing and resources. We have partnered with government, relief organizations, community groups and other faiths to care for those in need and to help address the underlying causes of homelessness.
Over the last decade, the Church has donated cash and commodities totaling more than $42 million to eight community and religious organizations that serve the homeless in Salt Lake City. There are dozens of partners that draw upon the Church’s food reserves at bishops’ storehouses on a monthly basis. In addition, the Church offers counseling services, employment training, job placement and personal ministering to the homeless. To support the current efforts of city and county officials, the Church earlier agreed to sell its Deseret Industries facility at 130 East 700 South to Salt Lake City for use as one of three or four planned homeless resource centers. In addition, we are in active discussions with community partners to identify where the greatest needs exist and how the Church may offer additional help.
The Church’s institutional response is made possible by the ongoing generous humanitarian and other contributions of Church members. In addition, many members do what they can as individuals and families to support community efforts designed to assist the homeless, for which we express our gratitude.