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UTAH considers National Guard to combat homeless violence...

UTAH considers National Guard to combat homeless violence...

SALT LAKE TRIBUNE reports:

News is spreading across the country on the state of homelessness in downtown Salt Lake City — and it isn't pretty.

Just over the Fourth of July holiday, a professional baseball player was attacked and suffered a concussion. And a car plowed into a group of homeless people on a sidewalk, killing one and sending five others to the hospital.

These are just the latest in a string of events that continues to frustrate officials, police and business owners surrounding the effort to make the Rio Grande area safer.

Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes was more than a little perplexed Wednesday in the aftermath of the auto-pedestrian accident, which occurred Tuesday evening around the corner from The Road Home.

"The violence and what is going on there is escalating," Hughes said Wednesday. "When it gets that out of hand, you can have a discussion about the National Guard with a straight face."

The Draper Republican explained that he wasn't asking Gov. Gary Herbert to call out the Guard just yet. But Hughes is among state lawmakers, city and county officials, as well as service providers, who have been working intensively for over three years to improve the neighborhood around Pioneer Park, the homeless shelter and other service centers.

Their efforts look to be falling short.

"It's just a disgrace," Hughes said. "I worry that we're not ready to do the things necessary to clean that area up."

News is spreading across the country on the state of homelessness in downtown Salt Lake City — and it isn't pretty. Just over the Fourth of July holiday, a professional baseball player was attacked and suffered a concussion. And a car plowed into a group of homeless people on a sidewalk, killing one and sending five others to the hospital. These are just the latest in a string of events that continues to frustrate officials, police and business owners surrounding the effort to make the Rio Grande area safer. Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes was more than a little perplexed Wednesday in the aftermath of the auto-pedestrian accident, which occurred Tuesday evening around the corner from The Road Home. "The violence and what is going on there is escalating," Hughes said Wednesday. "When it gets that out of hand, you can have a discussion about the National Guard with a straight face." The Draper Republican explained that he wasn't asking Gov. Gary Herbert to call out the Guard just yet. But Hughes is among state lawmakers, city and county officials, as well as service providers, who have been working intensively for over three years to improve the neighborhood around Pioneer Park, the homeless shelter and other service centers. Their efforts look to be falling short. "It's just a disgrace," Hughes said. "I worry that we're not ready to do the things necessary to clean that area up."

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