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More people than ever are camping on Salt Lake City streets as winter makes its freezing approach.

The Road Home shelter is full, and a new evaluation of the Rio Grande area downtown reveals that 1 of every 5 homeless people (21 percent) is living outside.

But on Wednesday, the administration of Mayor Jackie Biskupski said it had no plans to open any more overflow shelter space, despite urging by the Salt Lake City Council to do so.

The administration's statement comes as new data became public from Salt Lake County's Collective Impact initiative. Assessments were made of 690 homeless people downtown. The lengthy questionnaires were administered by 60 trained volunteers with the cooperation of homeless participants in the area around The Road Home shelter between 200 South and 400 South from Pioneer Park to 600 West.

David Litvack, the mayor's chief of staff, had earlier told the City Council that the administration needed data before it would seek more overflow space. He said that would come from the Collective Impact assessments in November or December.

Wednesday, however, Litvack told The Salt Lake Tribune the new information was not intended to guide overflow evaluation. Instead, he said, it would help better coordinate homeless services overall.

A statement from Biskupski's office said the administration would continue to monitor the situation closely, while shelter providers are ready to step up to rent motel rooms as needed.

"Service providers are prepared to use other strategies like motel rooms if capacity is reached," it said, "and the city has allocated funding to keep St. Vincent's [De Paul's dining hall] open through the winter and to provide other winter emergency needs."

Data from 550 of those homeless questionnaires revealed that 69 percent were staying at the shelter or in the overflow area of the St. Vincent De Paul Dining Hall. It also showed that 21 percent were living outdoors. Some 7 percent were finding shelter elsewhere; 3 percent did not answer.

Overflow at St. Vincent's can sleep 80 men on the floor. That's down from last year when there were facilities for 150 overflow clients. The Road Home's Midvale shelter offered 70 overflow beds then, but is now a year-round facility for families.

Matt Minkevitch, executive director of The Road Home, said the shelter on Rio Grande Street and the family shelter in Midvale recently broke records for clients at 1,409. The capacity of the shelter downtown is 1,100. The Midvale facility can hold up to 300.

Although Salt Lake City, in conjunction with Salt Lake County, is planning for four new 150-bed shelters, those facilities are at least two years away from opening.

The peak for homeless clients usually takes place in January and February, Minkevitch said, when campers come in from the cold. He expects the current demand to increase in coming months.

Some, however, choose to remain outdoors — many of them, officials say, suffer from addiction.

Tuesday evening, longtime homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson told the City Council that she had never seen as many people camping out in Salt Lake City on streets, medians and parks than she has witnessed this year.

Earlier, Sandra Hollins, outreach director for Volunteers of America, told The Tribune that her staff has observed more people camping out in many areas all around the city.

Council Chairman James Rogers noted his disappointment with the mayor's decision not to create more overflow space and recalled administration officials saying they were seeking more information before moving to open additional emergency shelter space this year.

Rogers added that the council is quite concerned about people living on the streets, but that the administration may not share that sense of urgency.

The administration asked only for $80,000 to underwrite St. Vincent's overflow area this winter, Rogers said. But the council funded it with $250,000 — the amount needed for the operation until spring.

The council also suggested city or Redevelopment Agency properties as emergency overflow space, Rogers said, but to no avail.

"There is only so much the council can do. ... It's an administration function."

The decision not to create more overflow space is "upsetting," said Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall.

She also recalled Litvack telling the council that the administration would make a determination on overflow shelters after the county's assessments.

"When it comes down to people freezing ... when it's so cold," she said, "I have a hard time not feeling emotional about this."

Beyond overflow needs, the Collective Impact's multifaceted assessments collected data on a range of items to better understand the needs of those seeking services in the Rio Grande area, said Shaleane Gee, who oversees the initiative for Salt Lake County.

Among other things, the assessments found gender distribution of 76 percent male, 24 percent female.

Some 36 percent were ages 46-60; 34 percent were 19-45; 15 percent were 61 and older; and 4 percent were 18 and under. Eleven percent did not respond.

Of those evaluated, 30 percent said they had spent time in jail in the past six months. The remaining 70 percent said they had not.

The assessments were the first of their kind, Gee said. And although self-reporting likely is not completely accurate, it provides information from the source — homeless people seeking services.