“You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” That’s precisely what Salt Lake City mayor Ben McAdams was considering when he was confronted with the duty of deciding the place his group’s subsequent homeless shelter would go.
After a month of public debates and two years of his employees drafting up a plan, Ben felt one thing key was lacking from the decision-making… nobody actually knew what it was like for a homeless particular person of their metropolis. He got down to get at the very least a glimpse into the lives of the homeless residents of Salt Lake City, “I needed to see firsthand, to understand the complexity of the recommendation I was being asked to make,” he instructed Deseret News.
Mayor Ben McAdams is like several metropolis mayor. He’s concerned in his group…
And makes appearances at particular metropolis occasions.
But not too long ago, when he was confronted with the robust determination of the place to place his metropolis’s third homeless shelter, he didn’t assume he might make the choice.
He didn’t have all the data, and that left him with a nasty feeling. So just a few months again, he left his workplace on a Friday — with out an ID or cash — and walked to one of many metropolis’s roughest neighborhoods.
His plan: to study what his metropolis’s homeless residents skilled each in shelters and on the streets.
Ben spent his first night time on the streets. It was chilly, near freezing, and raining. Why would anybody do that willingly when there have been shelters at their disposal?
But the subsequent night time, he shortly received his reply.
Ben checked right into a homeless shelter and was put within the males’s dorm.
“One person told me to be sure not to use the restroom at night because it wasn’t safe,” Ben stated. Drug use, violence, and only a basic unease made it clear why individuals would choose to not keep in shelters at night time. “I didn’t feel safe,” Ben famous.
But what actually affected him was his encounter with a household. The mom and father had been staying within the shelter with their 9-year-old autistic youngster. “It deepened in me a commitment that we’ve got to do better for these kids.”
Ben stored his undercover operation a secret, solely telling just a few key individuals together with his fearful spouse. But since his return, the mayor has began a drastic overhaul of his metropolis’s shelters.
All households with youngsters in downtown shelters had been relocated to various housing or to a family-centric shelter.
Drug use is prohibited now, with a zero-tolerance coverage, and safety patrols go round to make sure that the residents are secure and abiding by the foundations.
Ben selected a location for the town’s third shelter, and a few close by residents had been naturally upset with him. To that, he stated, “this work isn’t about me. It’s about doing the right thing for people who are in crisis.”
“I ran for office to make a difference, not to have a job.” And whereas many disagree with him, he’s doing it.
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