SLC's Mayor Went Undercover As A Homeless Person For 72 Hours -- This Is What He Saw

Submitted by: normalfreak2 2 months ago in News & Politics


What he finds out about living on the street shouldn't shock you.

An excerpt from The Salt Lake Tribune: During his three days experiencing life on the streets, McAdams said his time was consumed by solving two pressing needs: Where am I going to sleep? And where am I going to get food? “You have to plan your day around that,” he said, realizing that leaves little energy left to search for jobs or housing. 

McAdams and Reimherr ate at the Rescue Mission shelter a few times and picked up free sack lunches from the Good Samaritan Program. The two service providers sit slightly more than 13 blocks apart — a walking distance of about two miles. On Sunday morning, the mayor walked to the viaduct under 600 South for a Christian church-sponsored breakfast.

They didn’t end up eating there, but McAdams keeps the styrofoam plate he got in line as a reminder of the trip. It sits on his work desk, with the phrase “Jesus is Lord” written on the back in black marker. When he got home, the mayor donated $50 to the places he visited to reimburse for services he used.
There are 23 comments:
Male 1,511
I have a solution for a lot of the homelesness but most cities wouldn't like it. Take a few of the golf courses (or other wasted land) around the country and build villages of small, but comfortable houses and invite people from the streets to live in them. There are a LOT that want off the streets and would jump at the chance to have something like this.
The only rules are no drugs, no crime. If you're caught doing either, you're out. 

Give the people real jobs in the village so they can pay for their new home and whatever else they want/need. It's very easy to quickly create jobs if the village is self-sustaining. 

It's amazing how well most people will take care of what they have earned rather than what is just given to them.

I know it's a simplistic plan, but it's a hell of a lot better than what's being done now. (you know.. not a damn thing.)
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Male 40,772
I knew a man who volunteered for 8 years at a Calgary soup kitchen. He drove around feeding about 100-120 people a day.
After 8 years he noticed that the same 'core group' of about 80 people were still there! Homeless after all that time. Why? Because drinking alcohol and doing drugs was more important to them than anything else. Begging, petty theft, prostitution and getting handouts from charities were what they'd chosen as their careers. 
All he was doing was enabling their addictions. So he quit :/
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Male 318
5cats You're confusing cause and effect. Addiction is powerful, that is why many become homeless. They didn't choose those "careers" that is what addicts end up doing when all other options are gone. Treatment would help but relapse is common.
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Male 40,772
taxidriver Well yes, that's what I meant eh? There's precious little treatment available for them, and plenty of reasons to stay homeless rather than try to get out of that lifestyle.
Yes, the addictions come first, it ruins their lives. I thought that was so self-evident I didn't need to specify it :/

Alcohol, drugs and mental illness are both the reasons why they are homeless and the reasons they stay homeless. Those other things people have mentioned don't cause them to stay out there for 8 years...
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451
5cats Sounds like horseshit. a) EIGHT years to 'realise' that? b) no-one working with homelessness long-term would characterise it as 'choosing a career'. Maybe ironically, but not seriously.
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Male 40,772
barry9a YEs, he did it for 8 years, he loved doing it.
He had been a cook in the Navy, and since he was retired he loved to volunteer (as much as his disabilities let him) and he made the soup himself, good stuff!
He knew all the clients by name, most of them were "in and out" of the system but in the end he realized that almost all of them were still the same bunch as when he'd started. :/ So he stopped. 
He came to realize that they either had no intention of ever not being homeless (turned down every opportunity to do so) or were so messed up they needed far more help than he could ever provide. All he was doing was letting them continue their lifestyle.
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Male 39,955
5cats Gee, your level of compassion is without measure 

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Male 3,492
I had to be the skeptic, but this could just be a another work.  A Politician wanting to score brownie points, pretends to understand the plight of homeless with this charade.  

I would say taking a few long walks, sleeping outside a few times and eating donated food is absolutely NOTHING like being homeless because at any time you can "end" the experiment, most homeless only have that option thru suicide.

Most homeless that i have chatted with talk more about the stress of trying to make it thru another day, JUST to wake up and have to do it again.  Think of it as the difference between 3 days in prison and 15 years in prison.  Staying there for 3 days, doesn't exactly turn you into a hardened felon.

Had he just done this and NOT alerted the media, I would have been more apt to think that he cared.
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Male 40,772
daegog I completely agree, he's doing this to further his career. It's a stunt.

Throwing $50 bucks at them isn't going to solve anything, but he'll crow about this for the rest of his life as if he'd actually done something positive.
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Male 4,153
daegog I think you're onto him. He's a politician. He only cares about votes and power (read: money).
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Male 3,447
Great article.  If more politicians did something like this they might understand us common folks more.
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Male 1,138
kalron27 I think it should be a prerequisite to live off an average wage with no other income for 6 months.  Here's $2000 to get you started and you'll get $750 a week(which is actually more than I make).  Go live for 6 months on nothing more than that.
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Male 40,772
waldo863 I recall a politician (a Governor iirc?) who had his whole family live off welfare for a month. It was a lot more impressive than this clown's stunt I think.
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Male 20,917
Very sad to hear that about SLC, but I don't have to spend 72 hours on Skid Row to know that Downtown LA has a serious drug/homeless problem.
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Male 40,772
fancylad Alcohol, drugs and severe mental illness are the causes of homelessness. Closing all the asylums and throwing the patients out onto the streets was not a good idea... neither is using jails as a substitute for caring for the mentally ill.
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463
5cats What about Unemployment/Forced Redundancy, Domestic abuse or Family/relationship problems?

To simply say its alcohol drugs and mental illness is just plain ignorance.
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Male 40,772
layla_wilson Nope, go see some actual studies on the subject. Not ones done by special interest groups who are pushing their cause onto the issue, eh? The % of homeless people with drug/alcohol problems is staggering.

Unemployment? Domestic abuse? Seriously? That's no reason to live on the streets for years, ok? There's lots of other options unless you want to spend all your money on... booze and drugs.
Or you are too mentally ill to care for yourself. :/
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463
5cats Do yourself a favor, take your own advice and read some actual studies. They all say Loss of job, domestic abuse and family/relationship break downs.

You do realise that Homelessness can be the CAUSE of drug/alcohol abuse right? 
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Male 40,772
layla_wilson They go hand in hand, yes.
But pretending it doesn't exist isn't a way to solve anything, correct?
And mental illness is also a large part of it, you aren't denying that.

I'm talking about those who have been on the streets for YEARS not someone who spends a few weeks in one summertime...

And of course the stories they spin will always have themselves being the helpless victims of society... that's human nature eh? But reality: illness, booze, drugs.
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463
5cats I hope one day something unavoidable happens that leaves you homeless.
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Female 4,440
layla_wilson "I dont agree with what you said so I wish hateful things on you"  nice.
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463
melcervini He says homelessness is caused solely by either Drugs, Alcohol or Mental illness. Which simply isnt the case.

So i do hope one day he finds himself homeless without any relation to drugs, alcohol or mental illness. 
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Female 4,440
layla_wilson I stick to my original statement.  You don't like what's being said so you're wishing ill on him for it.
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