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Salt Lake City nonprofits host first-ever movie nights for unsheltered

Posted at 9:36 PM, Dec 17, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — David Weathers guesses he’s spent about 10 years of his life unsheltered.

“Every day I worry about it because there is so many unsheltered people out there that I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get a mat on the floor," he said.

Each day Weathers worries about where he’s going to spend the night, he said.

“It’s bitterly cold," he said. "I’m a full-blown diabetic, so I have to be careful of body parts. If I get frostbite, I lose body parts.”

Thursday afternoon, four nonprofits came together to create the city’s first-ever movie night for the unsheltered. First United Methodist Church opened its basement for 30 people on Thursday and 75 on Friday night from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

"We were able to really get pretty much everyone off of the streets last night who wanted to come in and be warm," said Pastor AJ Bush.

Just this week, multiple people have died from the cold, said Kseniya Kniazeva, the executive director of the Nomad Alliance.

“We are told by people on the streets that four to seven died," she said. "There were a couple that reportedly froze in front of Gail Miller [Homeless Resource Center], there was a couple by the islands by Rio Grande.”

The Nomad Alliance is desperate for volunteers so the nonprofits can keep hosting more movie nights, said Kniazeva.

“I was personally here for 17 hours last night without a wink of sleep, running, not sitting down, so we could use some reinforcements — that’s for sure," she said.

Kniazeva said that over the past couple of nights, there was no violence, no one got kicked out, and people just enjoyed the snacks, the warmth and the movies.

“We pulled off a miracle in mere hours," she said. "This is something that the city has not been able to do.”

The Church is also hosting movie nights this Saturday and Sunday night. They hope to host more movie nights in the future, and they would love donations like blankets, mats, pillows and snacks.