- The area, which was dubbed as “Village Camp,” opened up in mid-January of 2021, houses residents that came from other camps in the city that were shut down.
- The occupants of those tents, around 15 people, are living free in the yard and can readily use the bathroom in his house.
- He said that the residents of the camp contribute to the community by helping in cleaning the public garden that he maintains.
A group of random tents dots Darin Mann’s small yard in his home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Out of the kindness of Darin’s heart, the occupants of those tents, around 15 people, are living free in the yard and can readily use the bathroom in his house.
The area, which was dubbed as “Village Camp,” opened up in mid-January of 2021, houses residents that came from other camps in the city that were shut down.
Darin, who is a local activist, opened up his property with the goal to “de-stigmatize how people view homelessness.” For him, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and should be helped when needed.
He said that the residents of the camp contribute to the community by helping in cleaning the public garden that he maintains. They also keep the camp clean. In doing so, the residents are setting a positive example of working with homeless people.
Darin’s project did not sit well with all of his neighbors. Some of them have filed complaints with city officials, citing that Darin is violating a code that does not allow camping for more than two days on residential property. He was given two weeks notice to close the camp.
The activist is doing everything he can to keep the camp running. He claims to be communicating openly with his neighbors.
In fact, some of them cook food to donate to the camp. Others have hired the residents to do work for their houses.
To keep the peace in the camp, Darin has imposed zero-tolerance policy for drug use and violent behavior.
The camp’s residents said that they feel welcome and secure staying in Darin’s yard.
“To him, I was a stranger he saw a few times, but he took a chance and stepped up to the plate to help us,” a resident named Brandy said.
A man named Michael added, “I don’t have to deal with stress knowing I don’t have to suddenly move. Being away from a lot of the bad influences has helped me quit some of the addictions I struggle with.”
Darin believes that the city government should do more for homeless people. He has been meeting with high-level city officials in hopes to convince them to keep the camp open beyond the next two weeks. He believes that he was setting an example in helping people who are living on society’s margins.
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