SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City man says he’s doing what he can to help people in the homeless population. Darin Mann, 31, now has a homeless camp set up in his front yard, but not everyone is thrilled with the idea.
Mann already has a village co-op garden here where he grows hundreds of pounds of food each year, most of which he donates to homeless organizations.
Mann decided setting up this camp is the next logical step in trying to help those who don’t have a home.
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About three weeks ago, Mann located and screened homeless people who he then invited to live on his property. Mann says the encampment gives people a place to set up their tents and keep their belongings without having to worry about theft or being relocated by police.
He also gives his guests access to a private restroom in his home and he's made it clear that absolutely no drugs or violence will be tolerated.
“One strike policy and you’re out! And that we are here to promote a positive image of, you know...unsheltered folks are people just like you and me so everybody here is really motivated to better themselves and be a part of this wonderful community that we live in,” Mann said.
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Between 5 and 15 people are allowed on the property after being screened. Some of Mann's neighbors have been cooperative while others are upset about the situation.
The Salt Lake County Health Department could ultimately decide to force Mann to shut this down but, so far, have not done so.
Meanwhile, Salt Lake City officials, after receiving a few complaints last week, handed Mann a code violation ordering him to clean up his property and granted him a two-week extension.