Salt Lake Mayor Went Undercover to Sleep on Street, in Homeless Shelter

Mayor Ben McAdams went undercover to research locations for a new homeless resource center

Ben McAdams
Fred Hayes/Getty Images for JCPenney, File

A Utah mayor says he spent a night on the street and another in a troubled Salt Lake City shelter as he was deciding on the location of a new homeless resource center.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said he went undercover with another county employee over a weekend in March.

The mayor described witnessing violence and drug use at the downtown shelter, heartbreaking scenes with families and the exhaustion of just trying to find food and a bed.

McAdams said it was a fact-finding mission, not a publicity stunt, and that he sent donations to cover his use of the resources.

While some community leaders applauded his effort, the Road Home shelter's executive director discouraged others from trying it because it would take beds away from the needy.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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