Homelessness & Failure of Leadership in Salt Lake City
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
"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."
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."
"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
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.
“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.”