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Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
December 10, 2023 ·  3 min read

Man Invites Homeless People To Camp On His Lawn And Challenges Mayor To Do More

Many experiencing homelessness lead difficult lives. They are constantly having to move around from place to place and spend their days just trying to meet basic needs like food and water. On top of that, many of them are battling mental health problems and addictions. Few see them as real, regular people, except for this man, who has invited many homeless people to camp on his lawn. (1)

Man Invites Homeless People to Camp On His Property

Darin Mann lives just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the neighborhood of Fairpark. He invites homeless people to pitch a tent on his small lawn to have a safe, secure space to stay. He also lets them use a bathroom in his house and volunteer at the community garden he runs at a nearby park. (2

Why does he do this? Because he understands that homeless people are people just like us, only they are experiencing harder times or have been dealt a difficult hand in life. He wants to help them and de-stigmatize people without shelter. (1)

“The goal is to de-stigmatize how people view homelessness,” Mann explains. “Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and helped when they need it.” (1)

His property, which is only about one-third of an acre, is dubbed the “village camp,” with about 15 people currently living there. Many of them came from other camps in the city. (1)

Read: Austin’s homeless are being paid $15 an hour to clean up the city

It Takes A Community to Fight Homelessness

Mann firmly believes that to solve Salt Lake City’s homeless problem, the entire community must step in and take action. This means governments, organizations and businesses, and the residents of the city. (2)

People tend to fear the homeless, but he says when you give them a chance, they are helpful, kind, and try their best to improve their lives and their communities. (1)

“We wanted to show that to solve this problem, we have to address it as a community and not be afraid of it,” he says. “They are helping me clean the garden and get it ready for the season. They keep the camp clean and are helping to be a positive example of working with unsheltered people” (1)

Grateful People

On his property, Mann has a zero-tolerance policy for violence and substances, including drugs and alcohol. This is highly beneficial for those who come to stay at the Village Camp trying to get and stay sober. It gives them time and space away from substances, dealers, and other addicts to actually work on themselves and their own addictions. (1)

“I don’t have to deal with stress knowing I don’t have to suddenly move,” said one resident named Michael. “Being away from a lot of the bad influences has helped me quit some of the addictions I struggle with.” (2)

Another resident named Brandy agrees. Mann’s kindness to strangers – and especially strangers who are usually avoided or treated poorly by society – has been a blessing.

“To him I was a stranger he saw a few times, but he took a chance and stepped up to the plate to help us.” (2)

Not Everyone Is On-Board

Not everyone in Mann’s neighborhood likes what he is doing. They have complained to city officials, who have then served him with a code violation. It is illegal to camp for more than two weeks on a residential property in this area, so the city has given him two weeks to shut it down. (1)

Mann is confident that he will find a way to keep Village Camp going. Though not all of the neighbors like it, many of them help out. They cook for the camp, donate clothing, and do other things to help him out. Some have even hired camp residents to help them out around their own homes. (1)

Mann is meeting with city officials to hopefully keep his camp open. He wants to set an example for others about how those experiencing homelessness should be treated. (1)

Keep Reading: Girl Donates All Her Birthday Money to Homeless Man Who Returned Her Grandma’s Wallet

Sources

  1. Utah man invites homeless people to live in his front yard.” CTv News. David Blank. February 6, 2021.
  2. This Utah man invited homeless people to live in his front yard.” CNN. David Blank. February 6, 2021.