Utah has made a big movement to get homeless individuals from the streets into shelters and housing. From 2013 to 2014, Utah decreased homelessness by 9.4 percent and the trend is continuing.
But, over 13,000 people are still homeless in Utah, with a shocking 46% of those being families.
To help serve Utah’s broader mission of getting people off the streets, Purple has paired with Relief Bed, a global nonprofit that has created an affordable, transportable air mattress for people in need.
Relief Bed was started by Scott Smalling, who spent the last 30 years in the bedding industry working with premium-priced memory foam mattresses. Feeling most fulfilled with doing charity work and outreach, Smalling moved his efforts to be primarily philanthropic, which led him to create Relief Bed.
The Relief Bed was created through a partnership with Thermarest. It’s a high quality air mattress, a lot like Thermarest camping mats, but with a foam core and pillow attached to create a good sleep experience even on the cold, hard sidewalk.
Smalling is taking Relief Bed around the country, finding partners to bring these air mattresses to people in need, and Purple is honored to be one of those partners. In July 2016, Purple partnered with Relief Bed and the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake to provide dozens of beds to the shelter.
The Rescue Mission does amazing work for homeless individuals in Salt Lake City. They open their doors each night to dozens of homeless people, sometimes filling the room with 80 individuals in the winter.
In a 100-year-old building in downtown Salt Lake, the main room acts as a chapel, study hall, and housing for homeless individuals each day. Down the hall, they serve 26,000 free meals a year to people from all walks of life. And upstairs they run a 13-month recovery program that helps get people back on their feet.
Recovery programs in Utah are quite effective. Only 3.9 percent of Utah’s homeless population are chronically homeless, meaning they remain homeless year after year. In fact, 45 percent of adults and 31 percent of families stay in a shelter less than a week.
Relief Bed’s air mattresses can be very valuable to services like the Rescue Mission. They roll up tightly for shelters that don’t have much extra storage space, they’re made with a high strength, durable polyester so they’re easy to clean, and they provide head support without any additional products.
Purple believes in Relief Bed’s mission to the core. Sleep is essential to life, and improving sleep health is crucial to breaking the poverty cycle. We are proud to support this cause and partner with such incredible organizations as Relief Bed and the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake.