EFFECTIVE MEASURES TO IMPROVE SALT LAKE CITY’S
RESPONSE TO THE HOMELESSNESS CRISIS
- Eliminate encampments in parks and elsewhere throughout the city by providing a temporary secured sanctioned camp, remote from neighborhoods and businesses (e.g., the former Wingpointe Golf Course), with decent toilets, showers, laundry facilities, storage lockers, three nutritious meals each day, mail service, transportation, and professional outreach/case management workers to transition people out of homelessness.
- Provide comprehensive professional outreach and case management throughout the city for every homeless person on the street, in shelters, or in permanent supportive housing to transition them (depending on their current status) into a sanctioned camp, shelters, treatment, employment, and/or transitional or permanent housing.
- Enforce laws, with diversion from jail to effective treatment whenever possible, implementing the principles of restorative justice to solve problems (e.g., mental illness and drug addiction treatment) rather than maintain the status quo or simply to punish. There should be more focus on the demand side in enforcing drug laws to dry up the market for drugs and eliminate dealers. Return the duties of Salt Lake City Prosecutor to Salt Lake City, with full accountability on the part of the mayor and the administration.
- Provide adequate, vastly improved secure 24/7-all-year overflow shelter space (non-congregate if possible), with property lockers, so that unsheltered homeless people are never again left out in the sweltering summers or freezing winters (causing deaths and frostbite/amputations of fingers, toes, and feet) and avoiding negative impacts for residents/families and businesses throughout the city. Instead of scurrying each year to develop a winter overflow shelter (which traditionally has been inadequate, leaving many people without options other than being on the streets in the bitter cold), and instead of spending millions of dollars on temporary overflow measures, the primary focus (while making sure unsheltered homeless people are afforded shelter from the elements) should be on investing in permanent housing, where the investments will have long-term benefits.
- Provide adequate shelters—away from residential neighborhoods and in close proximity to other homeless services--that are vastly improved and welcoming to homeless people (i.e., safe, clean, without bed bugs, secure, with a respectful environment, and with property lockers); with effective facility and case management; effective transition to treatment, housing, and jobs; accountable to the public, with reporting of metrics of success; and with close proximity to other homeless services (eliminating “scattered sites”) to get unsheltered homeless people off the streets, protect them from the elements and crime, and transition them to housing, jobs, and appropriate treatment.
- Provide adequate residential and out-patient mental health and addiction treatment (for which the County must be responsible, since it receives the funding), including facilities for arrested people who would benefit from mental health and addiction treatment.
- Provide more cost-effective permanent supportive housing, with accountability for tenants, respecting the interests of residents and the neighborhood.
- Provide housing with wrap-around services, like Alliance House, for people with serious mental health and addiction disorders.
- Create a campus where all homeless services—including case management, legal services, a kennel, childcare, mental health and addiction treatment, and job training and placement—will be in close proximity to each other. (A model is Haven for Hope in San Antonio, Texas. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FzfI6gPB0k)
Protect people from becoming homeless in the first place.
- Require that developers relocate people displaced from existing affordable housing by developments.
- Provide abundant mixed-income non-market affordable housing at all income levels. (Quit depending on the neo-liberal “market” approach, where government subsidizes private developers instead of building excellent mixed-income housing itself.)
- Provide subsidies or low- or no-interest loans to help during financial crises for those at risk of becoming homeless.
- Provide accessible, affordable, and safe childcare so people can work to maintain their housing.
- Provide access to food pantries that focus on healthy nourishment.
- Provide adequate and accessible residential and out-patient mental health and addiction treatment.
- Advocate for a higher minimum wage, reform of eviction laws, and ability of municipalities to enact inclusionary zoning ordinances.
- Coordinate with prisons, jails, hospitals, and mental health facilities so no one will be released without housing.
We can achieve tremendous progress as we all come together—government entities at all levels, the business community, philanthropists, and churches—to attain a far better quality of life for residents, visitors, members of the homeless community, and businesses alike.
Please watch and share with friends and colleagues the video linked here, which addresses the crisis facing our entire city and the necessary solutions: www.rocky4mayor.com/2g.
ROCKY’S ADVOCACY FOR RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSESS, AND FOR ADEQUATE SHELTER AND AN END TO CITY RAIDS AND CONFISCATIONS
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The videos of what Rocky has witnessed and his conversations with many people affected by Salt Lake City's growing homelessness, crime, filth, and general degradation are presented here so the public can "put a face" to the serious problems facing us all. The videos include discussions with business people, members of the homeless community, and residents who have been severely affected by the failed programs and lack of leadership by the current Mayor and her administration.
HOW MAYORAL CANDIDATE ROCKY ANDERSON WANTS TO DEAL WITH—AND HELP—UNHOUSED UTAHNS WHO RESIST SHELTERS
"First, immediately, and I would do this within two months or sooner after I become mayor, I would put together sanctioned camps — and there would have to be a separate one for families — and include in those camps optional shelter that is low- or no-barrier, where people can come and at least get out of the elements.
At those sanctioned camps — which would include parking for trailers, campers, trucks, wherever people are living — I would make certain that everybody has access to toilets, showers, laundry facilities, a community kitchen and food, and we could participate with churches and volunteers in the community, and homelessness advocates.
We put an end [to unsanctioned camping], but we have a humane, decent alternative." – Rocky Anderson
The failure of leadership by SLC's current mayor led to tragic real-world consequences for hundreds of people. Rocky will ensure safe, adequate shelter, while focusing, as when he was previously mayor, on cost-effective, permanent housing for chronically homeless people. He will also make certain there is effective outreach and case management to provide necessary treatment and services to transition people to productive, law-abiding, stable lives. Rocky will pursue win-win strategies for the benefit of members of the homeless community, residents, and businesses alike.
"Mayor Anderson was there to witness and record the raid when he noticed the man was not wearing shoes. He asked him why he was only wearing socks and the man replied he couldn’t wear shoes because of the condition of his feet. Anderson looked at his feet and immediately said, 'Get in my car. I’m taking you to an emergency room now.' "
"With the spirited, committed leadership of Luann Clark, the Citys Division of Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) has aided thousands of Salt Lake City residents in obtaining proper housing. In the past seven years, HAND has utilized nearly $30 million from a variety of local and federal sources to make available nearly 2000 units of affordable housing and over 350 units of market-rate housing. The projects HAND has completed include a unique project at our Veterans Hospital that provides transitional housing for homeless veterans; the remarkable Bridge Project on the west side, which provides affordable living and office spaces for artists and cultural organizations; the Jefferson Apartments, which provide low-income housing one block from a TRAX line; and Sunrise Apartments, a 100-unit housing development for chronically homeless people." - Rocky Anderson, 2007 State of the City Address
"Anderson added Wednesday that he would stop "cruel" police raids and evictions of homeless people from camps "until there are alternative options for them," instead calling for "secure sanctioned camps" much like Haven for Hope in San Antonio among other reforms."
Throughout 2022 and 2023, Rocky has been filming and recording the stories and experiences of people experiencing homelessness in Salt Lake City. This playlist contains only some of interviews and footage Rocky has filmed. As Rocky continues filming, more interviews and footage will be added to the playlist. There are also videos of Rocky discussing the homeless crisis, solutions, and relating issues. Thank you to all of the people who have shared their experiences, hopes, and heartaches with Rocky as he campaigns for SLC Mayor with the goal of implementing real solutions for homelessness that benefit not only those experiencing it, but that benefit SLC residents, visitors, and businesses alike.
Our community reached its lowest moral point in terms of its treatment of people who are most in need when the current mayor failed and refused to provide adequate shelter for Salt Lake City’s homeless population during the three brutally cold winters of her administration. Several people died, many lost fingers, toes, and legs from amputations following severe frostbite, and everyone left on the streets when the shelters were full suffered horribly from the bitter cold. In this video, Rocky interviews several members of the homeless community for whom he helped obtain housing.
SALT LAKE CITY'S UNIQUELY COMPASSIONATE APPROACH TOWARD THE HOMELESS COMMUNITY IN CONNECTION WITH THE 2002 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES—"OLYMPIAN EFFORT TO HANDLE HOMELESS"
"The opening of the shelter—financed with city, county and state funds—stands in contrast to Atlanta, where in advance of the 1996 Summer Olympics, police arrested 10,000 homeless people. Homeless advocates complained that the tactics were intended to scare the homeless away or cajole them to lay low during the Games. Officials there also offered free one-way bus tickets under a clean-the-streets program euphemistically called, 'Project Homeward Bound.'
Salt Lake City instead is putting out the welcome mat. 'We respect the human and civil rights of everyone, including the homeless, during these Olympics,' said Mayor Rocky Anderson, a former attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. 'We won’t be doing roundups or anything like that. This community is very caring toward the homeless.' "
"Former Mayor Rocky Anderson vows to open [an approved, sanctioned homeless camp] or more camps with toilets, showers, laundry facilities, food and caseworkers in an attempt to quell street camping."
"What utterly inhumane, wasteful, cruel practices. And this is coming straight from Mayor Mendenhall. The buck not only stops with her: we know that this policy is driven by her. And yet she'll go out in the most hypocritical fashion and talk about how much she loves the homeless." - Rocky Anderson, interview on Utah Stories podcast
" 'In short, there’s an enormous, deadly Catch-22 crack in the system through which mentally ill people freezing to death are falling,' . . . 'It is the responsibility of our elected officials and employees whose jobs entail providing mental health services to mentally ill homeless people to provide a solution to this dilemma,' Anderson wrote."
NO ONE SHOULD ‘SPEND THEIR GOLDEN YEARS IN A SHELTER’—HOW UTAH CAN STOP THE ALARMING SPIKE OF HOMELESS SENIORS
"Hale was living out of a tent when a chance encounter with former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson over the summer sparked a shift in her living conditions. Anderson, who is seeking to recapture his seat at City Hall and is campaigning heavily on homelessness issues, introduced Hale to officials from The Point, a low-income housing development at 2333 W. North Temple for seniors and veterans run by Switchpoint, a nonprofit homelessness services organization. Last month, Hale moved into her new place, paying $450 a month with utilities included. It’s a price modest enough to be covered by the Social Security she started collecting last spring when she turned 65."
“We’re just going to have to tell developers ‘you can not come into our community and destroy affordable housing displacing people without providing adequate replacement.’ And I would say what’s adequate is providing more than what’s being destroyed—according to some formula that we can develop. But we’ve always got to be making progress, we’ve always got to be taking advantage of any opportunities to provide greater affordability in terms of housing in Salt Lake City.”
"Mayor Rocky Anderson addressed the AMSA in a meeting held Thursday afternoon outside the Park Building. 'In Utah about 4,000 people are homeless every night,' Anderson said. 'What you are doing is absolutely inspirational. It’s great to see more and more young people that are stepping up on social issues.' "
" 'This is going to be remembered in history as a real turning point for how we work with those who are chronically homeless,' said Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. Eighty of Sunrise's 100 apartments have been leased, with the others expected to be filled in May. Residents will begin moving in April 5."
" 'The next person who dies of exposure on the streets of Salt Lake City will be a result of there being no plan, no implementation and no overflow shelter to provide for the safety of the people who are homeless in our city,' Anderson said."
"'We cannot have one more homeless person dying on the streets of Salt Lake City,' Anderson said as he led a protest outside of current Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s office Friday afternoon. 'We have no plan in Salt Lake City for when the shelters are at capacity and people are out in the cold.' "
"Former Mayor Rocky Anderson is calling for a sanctioned campground . . . 'If [the unsheltered homeless] preferred to be in tents then you could get that sanctioned campground, but I also think there are plenty of warehouses, there are plenty of places that we could find, like the courtyard in San Antonio, you could put pads down on the floor. They could have lockers where you can store your property. But right now, what happens: you pitch your tent, you are trying to find a place where you can exist, you have a job, then you get a warning that they are going to raid, they are going to take your property if you are not there to get your stuff out of there so you can’t go to work.' " - Rocky Anderson
"[W]e need to commit to get rid of all the encampments spread throughout the community, and, with that, some of the criminal element. But, you don’t do that unless you’ve got alternatives. That’s why we’ve got the situation we have now, those alternatives haven’t been provided. When the road home shelter was closed, it was a disaster in the making. . . [The "resource centers" are] all full, and they ended up with almost four hundred fewer beds among these resource centers that cost so many millions of dollars to build and to operate than were available with 1,100 beds at the Road Home shelters." - Rocky Anderson, City Cast Salt Lake podcast
"I was just reviewing our correspondence regarding the lack of public toilets downtown and found the below email from your office. It appears to be taking credit for a port-o-potty downtown, but I later found out it was placed in a parking lot by a construction company, which locked it at night. The porto-potty is now gone. Still, there are no public toilets downtown. It seems so insensitive and lacking in any caring for the dignity and well-being of those who have no access to public toilets. " - Rocky Anderson to Mayor Mendenhall's Office, Feb. 2, 2021