Utah mayor slept on the street, downtown homeless shelter

FILE - Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams looks on during a committee hearing Monday, April 10, 2017, in Salt Lake City. A Utah committee overseeing the construction of shelters for the homeless approved a new shelter in South Salt Lake City despite protests from the city's mayor and residents that it would hurt their community. McAdams in late March recommended the shelter's construction for in a vacant lot in South Salt Lake near the county's jail. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — 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.

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