Homelessness and its Impact on Local, Small Business

The problem of homelessness negatively impacts our entire community – including local, small-businesses. Homeless encampments near retail businesses and restaurants present difficulties for small business owners who are already struggling with labor shortages and ongoing challenges related to COVID. On August 25th, Utah Independent Business Coalition (UIBC) presented a virtual discussion on practical and compassionate solutions to address the homeless problem while safeguarding the health of Utah small businesses.

Our guest speakers were Allison Dupler, Community Engagement Coordinator with Salt Lake City’s Homeless Engagement and Response Team (HEART) and Dennis Faris, Business and Community Engagement Liaison for Homeless Outreach Program at Volunteers of America. UIBC Board of Directors’ member Bob Mack also details his experiences in working with local organizations to resolve the problems stemming from an encampment near his place of business.

You can view a video of the entire event above.


Dennis FarisDennis Faris, Business and Community Engagement Liaison – Homeless Outreach Program, Volunteers of America

Dennis Faris works as the Business and Community Engagement Liaison for Volunteers of American Utah, working in close collaboration with Salt Lake City government and other homeless service providers to assist all residents with mitigating the effects of homelessness.

Allison DuplerAllison Dupler, Community Engagement Coordinator – Salt Lake City’s Homeless Engagement and Response Team (HEART)

Allison works to mitigate concerns of businesses related to individuals experiencing homelessness and find a solution that meets the needs of the entire community. Allison also coordinates logistics for monthly Resource Fairs and Kayak Court outreach events which are part of the Community Commitment Program. Prior to joining the HEART Team, Allison worked with the City’s Public Services Department.