SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — With temperatures dropping into the 20s in recent days, homeless advocates are furious with Salt Lake City officials after they reportedly removed several tents in the downtown area without notice on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
The abatement occurred days before an annual survey of the homeless community in Salt Lake City is set to begin on Thursday. City officials are not allowed to move people during that time.
Co-founder of Second and Second and OURS Carl Moore said it’s not the people who were told to move he’s most concerned about, it’s the people who weren’t in their tents when it happened.
“People who were at work. People who were in the hospital. People getting themselves doctored up, you know on the Fourth Street Clinic… They’re going to come back to nothing. They’re going to come back to absolutely nothing when they already had little to start with,” Moore said.
He added police gave the unsheltered population a 30-minute warning to move, but no one contacted him or any other organization today that could help relocate people.
The city tries to give these camps a 24-hour notice, according to Andrew Johnston, the Director of Homelessness Policy & Outreach for the Mayor’s Office.
He added the city technically gave that notice last Thursday, Jan. 19, when officials first started moving people, but they were unable to complete the abatement then and that is why they returned today.
Moore called the abatement irresponsible, adding some people may have just moved into that area over the weekend and did not know what happened on Thursday.
“It would take another week at least, if not more, to get back there again. And last week we had probably at least 60 or more tents out there. That size of a camp tends to lead to a lot of other issues coming around, so we’re trying to avoid that,” Johnston said.
He said he agrees more needs to be done, but before they can do that, more resources will be needed. Surplus money from the state, if there is any, should go toward building more homeless shelters and affordable housing, he added.