It is with great relief to report that SLC Mayor Mendenhall made an emergency declaration for this homeless epidemic about two hours ago.
I was invited to an emergency Zoom call where all the shelters, overflow and resource centers will be increasing their capacity.
There will also be more transportation available.
Overnight Movie Night will be a permanent overflow shelter and we wish Wendy and Unsheltered Utah well in running this necessary addition to the shelter system.
We give kudos to our city and state government for finally taking seriously all the lives lost this week to the freezing cold.
The four exhausting movie nights made it clearer that the Nomad Alliance has never wanted to run an overflow shelter. We do not believe in restrictive rules that infantilize this population, like the prohibition of smoking the first hour of entry and signing in and out for every cigarette break.
We don’t believe in the status quo: people needing to stand in the cold every night, and leaving at the cold crack of dawn to find somewhere to get warm, packing up their possessions and shuffling shuffling to find an open bed makes it difficult for people to have the stability to get off the streets. The shelter system is not what our chronically homeless population want and need.
We are looking for bolder solutions. The shelter system does serve some, those who seem more abled, but it does not work for our population already traumatized with CPTSD who may be triggered by loud noises and people in close proximity.
Privacy is a human right. Let’s make that so for everyone!
9/10 of our nomads, chronically unsheltered and shelter averse, wish to live in a sanctioned campground with amenities vs a traditional shelter. People need a safe place to be, not to move every day in hopes of finding some warmth. They need the freedom to leave their possessions at “home.”
The sanctioned campground would include uniform tents, our three microhomes and others which will soon be in production, and campers / motor homes. There will be fencing and security, communal spaces where people could hang and cook together, watch movies, bathe and use the restroom. We wish to also include a warehouse space where our many nomads in the trades could use their skills to fix cars and bikes, build a table as a Christmas present for a man’s wife alongside his loving hands, welding apprenticeships, etc. There will be spaces growing organic, nourishing foods, and so much more. ❤️
We have housed 25 people from one night to an entire year in the first microhome communities in Utah history. And yes we had to do it illegally to prove it can be done. I interviewed the first neighborhood after we had to move out, and neighbors reported no increase in crime or burglaries and that they’d love to have the nomad community back in Fairpark!
We are so good at executing last minute we know we could get a campground operational by this weekend, with porter potties (and eventually a compooster on wheels), showers (a few motorhomes with a shower to use for now, mobile shower like Renee’s Shower of Hope), warming space, electricity via solar power but initially generators. We can do this! Why not try?!
We will be continuing our old programs, as well as working on overarching goals:
❤️ Homeless Bill of Rights
👩🏽⚖️and lobbying trainings in conjunction with ACLU Utah to influence the passage of the above.
We love you all and thank you for the support!
It was due to YOU — the hard working nomad tribe, all you who donated and shared our posts, the nomads who volunteered for Overnight Movie Night from being door men and women to doing wound care to cleaning the place so that it shined — that the government is finally seeing this epidemic as a city emergency.
Yes, we can do better.
Thank you, all, we love you so much!
📸 Robin F Pendergrast Photography