A man in Utah, the United States, has opened the front yard of his residence to homeless people. Thirty-one-year-old Darin Mann, who already had a cooperative garden where he grew food and donated it to homeless organisations, says setting up a camp for the homeless was needed to help them get back on their feet.
The front portion of Mann's residence in Salt Lake City can accommodate up to 15 people. The camp, which started on January 15, came in response to the failure of city authorities to address the issue of homelessness, according to Mann.
Mann adds the camp provides the homeless with a safe space where they don't have to worry about being pushed out, for the time being at least.
“In the middle of January we started up this unsheltered camp to help people struggling with homelessness,” Mann was quoted as saying by The Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s been going great so far!”
“I don’t know of a case where people have opened up their home to a homeless camp,” said Mann, “We’re pioneering that.” The people, who are currently residing on Mann's premises, have access to medicine and food as well as the restroom in his home.
There's one thing that Mann is very strict about, though - no drugs, no violence.
A man staying at the camp said the place was calmer and safer than a normal "tent city", which, according to him, is “unpredictable” and “dangerous.” He wished more people followed in the footsteps of Mann. “This is like compassion, almost. They are opening up their homes and they’re risking their freedom and their security to help provide us with security and comfort.”
Another person, who arrived at the camp a week ago, says it felt "like a home", adding he "loved it".
While Mann's humane gesture has earned him applause from many, not everyone in the locality is amused. Some would even prefer encampment gone.
For instance, David Osokow, who lives in the neighbourhood, concedes it's Mann's private residence, but adds "it’s pretty disrespectful for other neighbours to one day start letting people put up camps and burn fires."
Even though the Salt Lake County Health Department has not intervened yet, Salt Lake City officials have handed Mann a code violation and ordered he clean up the premises in two weeks, Fox13 reported.