Salt Lake City Public Library, Utah
Project Uplift is a social services information and resource fair for the homeless and at-risk in Salt Lake City. Held at the centrally located Main Library of the Salt Lake City Public Library System, the program connected the homelessness community with service providers and information in a welcoming environment.
Project Uplift was created to help The City Library serve a community that would greatly benefit from access to information and resources. Homelessness is an issue that Salt Lake City government, state government, and local social service agencies have continued to address, and Project Uplift provided a platform to assist these groups in their efforts. The program was also intended to remove barriers between resource providers and their clients, provide educational information, and bring the resources available to those experiencing homelessness together in one place.
One key element for this program was The City Library’s partnership with the Volunteers of America’s Library Engagement Team, a group specifically trained to help vulnerable individuals with homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues. This team’s experience with these issues, combined with their knowledge of specialized resource providers, allowed The City Library to connect with a diverse group of partners for this program. Another key was the program atmosphere. Project Uplift was designed to look and feel like a miniature conference or job fair, and included information booths as well as incentives like free meals and giveaways.
Project Uplift’s achieved outcomes were both immediate and long-term. On the day of the program itself, Project Uplift allowed individuals and families to access a wide variety of specialized resources and information that helped them address their needs. This helped contribute to Salt Lake City’s goal of ending chronic homelessness. Project Uplift also created a space where a community that is often overlooked felt seen and cared for. In the long-term, Project Uplift opened up a line of communication between The City Library and the homeless community. Before this program, individuals experiencing homelessness would often interact with the Library on a minimal level. Now, those individuals are more open to connecting with the Library to find out more about resources that are available to them.