Multi-million dollar shelter proposed for Dixie Care & Share

Dixie Care & Share, St. George, Utah, Feb. 16, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Dixie Care & Share has proposed a new shelter to be built, which preliminary estimates project will cost between $2.5 million and $3 million. The new location will be on a 3-acre lot on Industrial Road which is currently owned by the City of St. George. Details are still being finalized regarding how the transfer of land to Dixie Care & Share will work.

Dixie Care & Share, St. George, Utah, Feb. 16, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News
Dixie Care & Share, St. George, Utah, Feb. 16, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

The city has already committed $230,000 and additional funds will be asked for from the city, the LDS Church, surrounding cities and other entities as well as the public.

Adam Dunn, chairman of the Dixie Care & Share board of trustees, presented the proposal to the St. George City Council on Thursday. 

As the city population increases, so will the number of homeless. Dixie Care & Share wants to be able to meet those needs, Dunn said. Currently, there are 20 beds in the male dorm, 16 beds in the female dorm and 3 family dorms with 16 beds each. There are additionally 8 units of transitional housing.

“We’re full every night,” Dunn said. 

The new facility will have 50 male beds, 40 female beds, 10 family units and 30 transitional housing units.

While the city is happy to help, City Manager Gary Esplin said he wants to make sure all of the organizations in the area that aid the homeless are coordinating with each other as well.

“The only thing I am worried about are the agencies involved,” Esplin said. “The more we get pulled apart, the less happens.”

Critics of the shelter

Carol Hollowell of the Volunteer Center of Washington County recently directed a Point-in-Time homeless count and said as far as she was aware, no one from Dixie Care & Share was there to help. As she helped the homeless and distributed supplies, she said she heard numerous complaints from homeless about the current conditions of the shelter.

Dixie Care & Share, St. George, Utah, Feb. 16, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News
Dixie Care & Share, St. George, Utah, Feb. 16, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

Peter Ranftl has been homeless for six months and said Dixie Care & Share treats the homeless abruptly and rudely.

“You are being helped by a homeless person, not a professional I don’t think,” Ranftl said. “If you go over there you are treated just like you are a criminal and I don’t think that people that find themselves in the position of being homeless really want to go there. The other thing is there is no place for a dog. Mine is a service animal … over there especially they treat you like a – well maybe they treat the dog better.”

Residents can stay for free for 14 days. After that period, they pay for their stay by working at the shelter in some capacity, Dunn said. If they do not work for their board, they pay $63 per week or $9 a day.

Hollowell does not feel that asking the homeless to pay for shelter is a good idea.

“I find that pretty despicable,” Hollowell said “My concern is this, you are not assisting those clients to get out of the circumstances that are keeping them homeless and if we are really going to eradicate poverty or help these people step up, you cannot keep pushing them back down with absurd reasons for kicking them out of the shelter or charging them for staying in an emergency shelter. If they had money, $63 per week they would probably be staying in a motel room or renting a room. That’s not cheap.”

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Dixie Care & Share, St. George, Utah, Feb. 16, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News
Dixie Care & Share, St. George, Utah, Feb. 16, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

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  • Common Sense February 16, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Hollowell does not feel that asking the homeless to pay for shelter is a good idea? And just why not? It sounds like, from what I read, that the choice is to help out around the shelter or pay a tiny amount for room and board. If that is the case, then it is as it should be.
    Why does Hollowell believe that folks that stay at the shelter should have a totally free ride? Sure, these people are down on their luck, and they need a hand. OK, give them a hand, but make them work or pay for it. It is called “LIFE.”
    It appears to me that Hollowell is more concerned about the politics of the situation, and trying to make a power play, than anything else. Instead of fighting the shelter, she needs to get on board and help them out. But I’m willing to be that she isn’t interested in that at all. It looks like she is interested in building her own little kingdom. At least, that is the way she comes across.

  • JamesB February 16, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    “If you build it, they will come”. Take a look at Santa Barbara.

    • Maudie Fricker April 12, 2014 at 9:28 am

      You got that right…!!

  • Don Corleone February 16, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Our organization stopped donating to C&S years ago due to horrific management and almost all people getting free food are illegal aliens with a brood of children. Start helping vets and Americans.

    • Bub February 17, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      Yup, both parties have failed miserably at controlling illegal immigration.

    • Native July 23, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      I thought Native Americans where here first?

    • msha August 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      I’m curious, how did you know it was all illegal immigrants?

  • Bub February 16, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    What’s that old saying “If you build it they will come”. Pretty soon the town will be overrun by minorities and dirty homeless and poor. Oops, that was the republican in me speaking…

    Oh darn, I just realized JamesB beat me to it…

  • REALITY CHECK February 16, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Common Sense – I challenge you to go spend one day at the Volunteer Center with Carol Hollowell before you pass judgment. Good luck if you can keep up with her! After she spent several years watching the endless cycle of homeless individuals flowing through Dixie Care & Share without any real help to change their situation she decided to DO something. Dixie Care & Share does a mediocre job of sheltering people at night but that’s about where their ‘job’ ends.

    The key to alleviating the homeless issue in our city is to try to help those who want a better life but, because of the difficulties, just can’t get themselves established. It’s no secret that the wages in St. George are low and the rental costs are high. It only takes one extended illness, car accident or other unforeseen emergency to cause you to lose your job or just put you further and further behind on rent until you are eventually evicted. So you are either living in your car (if you have one) or you end up at Dixie Care & Share. If you are out of work how do you pay $63 a week to stay in a shelter? And if you’re working off that payment at the shelter, how do you look for a new job? And while you’re paying the $63 per week how do you save for money for a rental deposit on top of the $150 -$300 deposit required for utilities? And where does your family go while you’re looking for work since they cannot stay at the shelter during the day?

    Carol Hollowell is not asking the community to give the homeless at the shelter a free ride or a hand-out. There will always be a need for a shelter for those who choose to live their life on the street. BUT there are ways and programs available to help individuals and families who want to work, to get off the streets and into an apartment and become productive citizens of our community. Sadly, those people will not find that kind of help at Dixie Care & Share.

    YES, City Council Members – please develop a plan and a budget for transitional housing NOT another shelter – but don’t give that money to Dixie Care & Share!

    • Common Sense February 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      One thing that I know for sure is that when the “Do Gooders” get to fighting with each other, the people who are sure to be the losers, are the same ones those “Do Gooders” say they are trying to help.
      So if you people want to actually do something useful rather than fighting each other, band together, combine your resources and put them to the good cause you are purporting to help. Otherwise, you are just self serving sycophants who are out to make yourselves feel good.

  • Morrigan February 16, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    The current DC&S, Is dirty and over run with bed bugs and others forms of critters, it is not a good place for children or for anyone.

    • Common Sense February 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      Then quite bellyaching about it, and get in there and help clean it up!

  • Bub February 16, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    **I’ve come up with (2) right-wing acceptable plans:

    Plan 1: Get all these homeless bus tickets to Vegas. If they end up coming back we’ll go to option B: County will rent a bus and load it up with the homeless. Bus will be driven across the border to Mexico and dropped off. There the homeless won’t cause our perfect society any more problems.

    Plan 2: We’ll force the people into such economic desperation that they’re forced to commit crimes in order to survive, then we’ll simply lock them in prison FOREVER!

  • Craig February 17, 2014 at 6:18 am

    On any given week day, go and look for yourself who is picking up food at DC&S. Most of them are driving up in vans and SUV’s. Many have very nice, newer autos. IF you have money to feed such a vehicle, you have the means to feed yourself and your family. Many of the food takers are looking for a handout, not a hand up.

  • Ron February 17, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Judging from the comments, selfishness is alive and well in this “Christian” community. No surprise there. Keep telling yourselves that people who lack food and shelter are all lazy bums, and you’ll enjoy the Parade of Homes even more.

    • Common Sense February 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      No kidding, you nailed it Ron! These are probably the same people who have never, ever had the experience of going through true financial hard times. It is so easy to be on the outside, looking in, and throwing stones.

  • Ed February 17, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for life. Or give out free things to homless they ask for more free things loosing all self confidence. Feed cloth and shelter the homless then have them work cleaning the streets, cleaning up graffiti, volunteer their time to each other, help with neighborhood gardens, volunteer with elderly Ect.then they have purpose in life, and quit being problem in life

    • Common Sense February 17, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Exactly Ed! Everyone who is not bed ridden is capable of doing some type of productive work. People who find themselves down on their luck, may or may not have made bad choices that placed them there. It doesn’t matter, they can still be productive citizens, in one way or another.

    • Bub February 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      So basically government based employment programs? Sounds familiar…

  • Gary February 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Hello St.George,

    I’ve stayed in Dixie Care and Share Shelter many years ago…
    I was always treated very kindly and with utmost Respect…
    Anyone that stays there has a small chore to do in the
    evening when they get back from whatever they did that
    day…I washed many dishes and helped clean the Mens dorm
    many times also…They don’t ask much of you,only that you
    try to help yourself get on your own two feet…Every Organization
    has rules and DC&S is no different…They gave me Food,Shelter
    and clothes which I appreciated very much…So if you have any
    complaints just keep them in your head or help them fix what
    you have to complain about…Be a good person and give Thanks
    for whatever happens,it could be worse…

    Gary A.P.

    • Bubette February 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

      How many YEARS ago was that exactly? Have you visited lately?

  • Jane February 17, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    It seems that empathy for families and individuals experiencing homelessness might depend upon one’s own experiences of poverty. Please consider your own experiences through life – or those of family and friends – and then try to answer this question: How do we help bridge the gap between the false perceptions of poverty and homelessness – and the reality of rungs on the ladder that differ based on one’s race and class?

    After 20 years as an advocate of low income families, it’s become increasingly difficult for me to read comments such as the ones posted recently in the St. George News. While the vast majority of readers will glance at the article and agree whole-heartedly with its content, this reader instead just feels sad….

    Families on the streets of our “grand” city should not come as a surprise. Families with children are “the hidden homeless” and our social policies continue to fail them. Most people believe that our government has “programs to help” these families and individuals and they still believe deep in their hearts that it is “personal failure” that causes poverty and homelessness, with some people just destined to be poor. It’s difficult to convince them that homeless families represent just the “tip of the iceberg” of entrenched poverty and suffering for increasing numbers of families in our community – and have chosen to “ignore” them in the hopes that they will eventually go away.

    While circumstances can vary, the main reason people experience homelessness is because they cannot find housing they can afford. It is the scarcity of affordable housing in St. George, which is behind their inability to acquire or maintain housing. A successful homeless assistance program not only works to end homelessness, but minimizes the length of stay in shelter. In order to do this, assistance programs must align resources and commitment to work together and share ideas and funding.

    In order to end homelessness, we must focus at the same time on ending poverty! These are tightly linked issues – and cannot be separated. In other words, if you expect someone to have enough money to pay their own rent, then you better ensure that they have access to employment at a living wage, transportation, childcare, and opportunity to move forward with a quality of life – and all of this from a stable housing base!

    • JamesB February 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      I like your comment. What is your solution for those poor and homeless that are able bodied but choose not to work or to improve their circumstances?

    • Bub February 17, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      “In other words, if you expect someone to have enough money to pay their own rent, then you better ensure that they have access to employment at a living wage, transportation, childcare, and opportunity to move forward with a quality of life – and all of this from a stable housing base!”

      -employment at a living wage
      – opportunity to move forward with a quality of life

      These things are all opposed by the republicans and the right wing agenda. It still astounds me that the right-wing is able to get low-income votors.

      • JamesB February 17, 2014 at 6:53 pm

        Bub. Please explain how those items are opposed by the right wing. Are they opposed by the right wing? or is the right wing trying to achieve them using a different method than the left wing?

        • Bub February 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm

          Well, Romney’s would be VP Paul Ryan is a Ayn Rand fanatic. How is that not frightening? Do right-wingers even know what their party stands for? Not the bs they spew(and the R-wing radio nutbags), but what they actually are all about.

  • JHL February 17, 2014 at 6:13 pm


    I don’t believe people “choose not to work or to improve their circumstances” or choose to be homeless.

    The type of homeless individual or family that you refer to is defined under the Department of Housing and Urban Development as a chronically homeless individual. Chronic homelessness is defined as long-term or repeated homelessness, and often coupled with a disability. A family with an adult member who meets this description would also be considered chronically homeless.

    Chronically homeless people are among the most vulnerable people in the homeless population. They tend to have high rates of behavioral health problems, including severe mental illness and substance abuse disorders, conditions that may be exacerbated by physical illness, injury or trauma. Consequently, they are frequent users of emergency services, crisis response, and public safety systems.

    Stable housing is an essential component of successful recovery. The solution to the problem of chronic homelessness is permanent supportive housing, which is housing coupled with supportive services. What’s more, it is a cost-effective intervention. Chronically homeless individuals living in permanent supportive housing are far less likely to draw on expensive public services.

    St. George has permanent supportive housing funding through Southwest Behavioral Health Center. Program funds help homeless people live in a stable place, increase their skills and their income, and gain more control over the decisions that affect their lives.

  • Roy J February 17, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I think that some people who are posting on this article have very little understanding or experience of what poverty is and what homelessness means. I believe if they did they would know that poverty often is the humility to accept a sandwich in Brooklyn from an Eastern Orthodox priest and his clean-cut and well meaning religious community because the alternative is starvation. I believe that they would know that homelessness often means humbling their pride to a three hour wait at night in the winter outside a converted cafeteria in Hell’s Kitchen to sleep in a metal folding chair with two- or three hundred other people in who are also showing to various degrees their prolonged social, physical and spiritual suffering. Gary, I feel you brother! Jane, you are so right! As for the rest of you spiritual simpletons, I pray God smacks you with the life of Lazarus for the good of your soul!

  • donnie February 17, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    stop encouraging illegals to use services as they overload the system and instead provide more service to truly needy americans who are down on their luck!!the federals will give the illegals a free ride home,something they wont do for American citizens!!!

  • Bubette February 18, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I am really disappointed in the news writing of this reporter. I had hoped that she would actually do some investigation into current situations before she published her articles. There is much more to this story and unfortunately, the person who sobs the most wins. I hope that in the future this news reporter will discover the facts and not just the fallacies.

  • mikeybo February 18, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Some of these armchair social workers ought to drag their heartless backsides down to a food bank and watch as the working poor stand in line to feed their children or the elderly whose sons and daughters can’t find work, have to move home and they weep because they have to ask for help for the first time in their lives.

    When I was growing up, a fairs day pay for a fair days work was taken for granted. Thanks to the historic tragedy of Trickle Down economics, the poor and the middle class have been evicerated. The rungs on the ladder of success have been cut stranding millions in poverty. Yes there are a few deadbeats. Yes there are illegals. You would have to be a pretty heartless SOB to let the children go hungry. Be careful of your hubris. All of us are one bad diagnosis, one car wreck, one lost job, a divorce or natural disaster from from being in that same line.

    • Bub February 18, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      I think all the hubris comes from watching Fox ‘news’ and other right-wing nonsense. If they don’t see the problems they have no trouble ignoring them.

  • Bub's evil twin February 18, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Let’s turn the new Washington County Water Conservancy District building into the new homeless shelter.

  • James L. March 21, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I am honestly disappointed in many, many of these responses. I can’t tell if half of the people on here are “trolling” or are simply that desensitized. For all of you extremists I have a little story for you. I was raised in a very well off family, graduated high school, and right after joined the United States Marine Corps. After completing my 4 years, I decided to go to college. All seems like a completely successful trial right? Wrong. Halfway through my schooling, due to medical bills and treatment I was forced to move out of my apartment. I was not able to work due to having seizures and a bum left knee. There were no government aid programs that I qualified for (no addiction problems, had use of all 4 limbs, and was only my first time being homeless.) and I honestly couldn’t catch a break. So what did I do? I went to a homeless shelter. While I was there, I would say a good 75-80% of the others living there were praying day in and day out for work. Anything from cleaning toilets, to working at McDonalds just so they could rent a tiny studio apartment and try to “start over.” Being raised in a very right wing environment, successful student, and proud member of the military, it was a very eye opening and humbling experience.

    I simply am writing this to ask you people to please try and put yourself in others shoes. If you can’t imagine what it is like, then simply keep your mouth shut and “don’t judge unto others yet ye be judged yourself.”

  • cyndie November 7, 2014 at 4:37 am

    I have stayed at the shelter a couple of years ago, and it was very, very, miserable experience to me. I just don’t understand how some of the people could stay as long as some of them have. I had just come from Provo, Utah and yes I did get right in. Upon doing the necessary paperwork to get checked in, …* the person who was working told my daughter and me, that they still had ” BED BUGGS ” and she wasn’t kidding either. . She showed us where she had bites, and told us that she was used to them. . . Gross. . . .Well, I get my bags to the room in the trailer area and got to talking with the girl I’m sharing a room with, and she shows me her bites all up and down her legs,arms, and neck. She said she even had bites on her scalp area. That night I did not sleep at all. I stayed up all night with my flashlight watching for the bugs. Well they were crawling all over in the room.I saw them crawling from the wood bed frames, on cloths, yep there was tons of them. And yes I started getting bite. I noticed them on my hands, feet, and lower legs. the next morning , you could just see people scratching. This other lady showed me her neck from getting bite. . . . I didn’t get any sleep the next night either, same thing. Pretty Creepy if you ask me. . . . . . Third day I had to go, there was no way I could spend another night in that ” B U G – I N F E S T E D ” place. . . . I went to D. I’s talked w/bishop, worked some hours and got the …* out. . . . Apparently, there has been a Very big problem with the Bed Bug Infestation, there. I’m hearing for years. . Why have you been able to stay open as long as you have, I surprised you haven’t been sued, for medical needs from the Bed Bugs. . . . . Why hasn’t the Health Dept. shut you down. And how can all of you, The Board of Directors, just close your eyes to this serious problem. There is nothing in that place that is savable to take to your new Shelter whenever. . . . . God forbid if you do, cause you’ll just infest the other place also. . . . .When there is as Big a problem as the St. George Care and Share has everything needs to go. Every resident belongings are just crawling with the Bug. . . . . . Would you want your own families to live in those conditions. It’s been years so I’ve read, and looked up on the News. Ya, you was even on the S.L.C . Utah News about this issue. . . . . Do You Really Care About The Homeless People. YOUR ACTIONS AREN’T SHOWING IT. DON’T MAKE PEOPLE SUFFER ANYMORE THERE. . . .WE ALREADY SUFFER ENOUGH.
    Ed. ellipses: …*

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