Updated: February 5, 2021 12:26:21 pm
In a thoughtful gesture, a man in the US has opened his front yard in a bid to help the homeless population in his town, allowing them to set up tents and live in such trying times.
Darin Mann from Salt Lake City in Utah has a homeless camp set up in his front yard what he dubbed as doing “his bit” while slamming the local authorities. Mann told local WNYT that he has room on the lawn for up to 15, and multiple tents were spotted on the property in the past few week.
“In the middle of January we started up this unsheltered camp to help people struggling with homelessness,” said Mann, who also grows produce on the property for the surrounding community under his non-profit, The Village Cooperative. “It’s been going great so far!”
Clean-up efforts in recent months conducted by the health department and the police have been among the reasons homeless campers have relocated—sometimes multiple times. Mann, on his non-profit’s page, announced the initiative called ‘Camp New Beginnings’ last month, after saying that the “city mayor has failed to come up with an adequate response to our homeless crisis”.
Although he earned many plaudits online, not everyone in his neighbourhood is thrilled with his idea. The Salt Lake City officials received a few complaints last week from his upset neighbours and handed Mann a code violation ordering him to clean up his property and granted him a two-week extension, Fox 13 reported.
Mann said unsheltered campers have to abide by rules on the property, including no drugs and no violence and highlighted he screened the people before allowing them in the camp. He also added that he gives his guests access to a private restroom in his home.
Talking to The Salt Lake Tribune, he said that it’s an effort to “destigmatise” people experiencing homelessness. “I just think that’s it’s a lot better environment to have somebody open their yard and pretty much their homes up to those that need it,” the 31-year-old man said, adding he wished more people would follow suit.
“This is like compassion, almost. They are opening up their homes and they’re risking their freedom and their security to help provide us with security and comfort,” he added.
Michael and Brandy Najera, two of the campers currently staying in Mann’s lawn, said the experience has been good. “We actually quit our addictions here. It’s been a blessing,” Brandy Najera told NBC 4.
An official with Salt Lake City Police Department told KSL News that said they are aware of the camp at Mann’s home, but if anything, it was a matter for health officials unless anything happened on the property that would require a police response.
Although the young activist told the news outlet that he doesn’t intend to have an unsheltered camp forever in the yard, he hoped there were better solutions in general to address the ongoing crisis.
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