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West Jordan Journal

The Other Side Village provides a unique solution to chronic homelessness

Mar 09, 2023 11:39AM ● By Peri Kinder

The Other Side Village in Salt Lake City was given a $2 million boost from the Salt Lake County Council. The village offers a safe community for those transitioning out of homelessness. (Rendering courtesy of The Other Side Village)

It’s a revolutionary idea. Build a neighborhood where the chronically homeless can learn how to own and care for a home, be a good neighbor and invest in building a community. It’s the mission behind The Other Side Village and will become reality this summer.

Located at 1850 W. Indiana Ave., The Other Side Village’s pilot phase is an 8-acre area that will include 85 homes, each ranging in size from 280-400 square feet. Most of the homes will be given to those who sign up for the Welcome Neighborhood program, some will be used for staff and community buildings, and several will be used as short-term rentals to raise money to support the project.

“This will create a place for those who haven’t really fit into other places, so they can build their own sense of identity and their own sense of safety,” said Samuel Grenny, manager of Welcome Neighborhood. “It’s a peer-led model, so everything that happens in the community is determined by members of the community and it gives them the ability to define their safe, shared space in a way that is best for them.”

The Salt Lake County Council approved a $2 million investment to support the village which isn’t just about homes for the unsheltered, but creating a social system and culture that changes lives. 

Welcome Neighborhood is a program that transitions people out of the homeless lifestyle and into The Other Side Village community where people are invested in personal growth and home ownership. When a new occupant arrives, they are given guidance to adjust to the new environment. This includes help with drug or alcohol addiction, mental health counseling and classes in how to be a member of a therapeutic community. 

“The only criteria is we don’t allow sex offenders or people convicted of arson charges. They must be chronically homeless and interested in living in a clean and sober community,” Grenny said. “They must have a desire to improve their life. This is permanent supportive housing, not a transitional model.”

Part of the program is teaching residents how to have healthy, strong relationships with each other. They’ll learn life skills like how to keep a neighborhood clean and how to resolve conflicts. It borrows from a housing model that shows people need base-level resources, like having a roof over their head, before asking them to take on challenges like personal growth and addressing health issues.

“People actually want expectations to be had of them,” Grenny said. “People actually thrive when they feel they’re capable of something. The Welcome Neighborhood is where people spend two, three or four months identifying and working on core areas that are important to them and will help set them up for success with their housing so they’re not cycling through it.”

After the resident completes the program, they are allowed to choose their forever home in The Other Side Village. Welcome Neighborhood is already working with future residents and 17% of the homes are taken. By the time the village opens in the summer, Grenny expects the first phase to be 25% full. 

“Really core to our model is the self-reliance aspect, teaching skills to individuals to live as self-sufficiently as possible,” Grenny said. “We hope everybody gets to be the best version of themselves. We have a social enterprise where neighbors are able to work, making $14 an hour. They learn job skills and all profits go to paying for the operational needs of the village.”

Salt Lake City gave The Other Side Village a 40-year lease on city-owned land to develop phase one of the project. The $2 million investment from the Salt Lake County Council will help fund the phase, estimated to cost $14 million. For more information, visit 

“This budget is an example of what we can accomplish when we all work together for the greater good,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson.