It should be mandatory for all politicians trying to get elected to do the same.
The mayor of Salt Lake County, Utah went undercover as a homeless person with just the clothes on his back before deciding where to place a new shelter. He has now spoken out about his experience, saying he “didn’t feel safe” due to drug abuse and violence.
Mayor Ben McAdams can generally be found wearing a suit as he governs Utah’s most populous county.
However, he broke that rule on March 24, when he left his office wearing jeans, sneakers, and a hoodie, and embarked on his new adventure as a homeless person.
He and an unnamed colleague left the comfort of their homes, their IDs, and their money behind. For three days and two nights, they immersed themselves with the city’s homeless population, spending one night in a shelter and one on the streets.
The experiment, according to McAdams, was aimed at “deepening” his understanding of the current homeless system before he was forced to make a decision on where to place the county’s third homeless resource center – a decision he knew would anger residents of whichever town he picked.
Although the adventure took place months ago, McAdams managed to keep it under wraps until he was recently approached by the Deseret News, saying he didn’t want it to seem like a “publicity stunt in the face of human suffering.”
In fact, residents of various towns within the county had already taken part in heated public meetings.
But McAdams felt something was “missing” from those meetings. Despite his wife being hesitant about the plan, the official claimed he needed to get a firsthand experience to really grasp “the complexity of the recommendation” he was due to give.