Darin Mann, 31, of Salt Lake City, has taken it upon himself to help alleviate some of the struggles the local homeless community faces this winter. Earlier this month, Mann set up a homeless camp in his front yard, inviting 5-15 people to pitch their tents and keep their belongings safe, eliminating the fear of theft or relocation from law enforcement. His guests also have access to a private bathroom.
Mann makes his intentions clear, stating that no drugs or violence will be tolerated in the space and he has a firm one-strike policy.
“We are here to promote a positive image of, you know…unsheltered folks are people just like you and me so everybody here is really motivated to better themselves and be a part of this wonderful community that we live in,” said Mann.
Most of Mann’s neighbors have been cooperative, however, not all of his neighbors are thrilled by the arrangement.
“If homeowners put their stuff on the line, like Darrin has,” said Brandy Najera, who’s been staying at the camp, “maybe a lot of us would have more hope.”
The Salt Lake County Health Department has the power to shut down the operation, but they haven’t. However, complaints have been received by Salt Lake City officials, and they have issued Mann a code violation. He’s been ordered to clean up his property, giving him and the camp tenants until February 19.
This is not the first time Mann has done kind, charitable acts within his community. He has previously constructed a community co-op garden, which produces hundreds of pounds of fresh food every year, and a majority of it is donated to homeless organizations.