SALT LAKE CITY — As Jeremy Hafen, wearing a hard hat and a yellow vest over his suit, toured the dusty construction site where his company was prepping the ground for a 200-bed women’s homeless resource center, a thought struck him.
While his construction crew was literally laying the foundation for the shelter, they were also helping lay the foundation for something larger. “We’re seeing the foundation here, but there’s a tie to the foundation of building something better for this community,” said the president and CEO of the construction company Sunroc Corp., a subcontractor on the 131 E. 700 South shelter site. “It will help people change their lives.” “It’s just starting from the ground up,” he added. “And the fact that we’re the ones that are building the foundation for this … it’s pretty amazing.”
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, who joined Hafen his walk of the site Thursday, also reflected on the years of work and struggle that preceded the groundbreaking of the three homeless resource centers that are expected to replace the troubled downtown homeless shelter next summer and therefore transform the county’s homeless system. “They’re finishing laying the foundation right now, after we spent the last several years laying the foundation of the services and the new model,” McAdams said. “I guess I get chills thinking about the lives that will be blessed by what’s happening right here.” Hafen was not only helping move earth to lay the physical foundation of the building, McAdams said, but helping in an even bigger way.