Skip navigation.

Homelessness in Provo

I'm like many BYU students who have no place to live between summer term and fall semester. See my summer term housing contract ended and I can't move into my new fall housing for another week. The in between time, I've been crashing on friends couches and such. Today, I was up on BYU campus with a cardboard sign around my neck saying HOMELESS just to see what people's reactions were. For the most part, people just ignored me, except for the one BYU cop who asked if I really was homeless and if I needed help. I've posted a short essay on the homeless situation on my blog as well as a couple pictures and other posts.

frankly...I couldn't care

frankly...I couldn't care less if peole on "" are giving me respect!


You just love proving my point LOL! You're sad! LOL, you're in the justice system, that makes perfect sense! So you think it's always right eh? you think every guilty or innocent person has had justice. (BTW it was a metaphor) As far as paragraphs's not about how many sentences are in it but the content...I'm not writing an english paper you moron! You'd rent to any religion as long as they did what they were told, and lived the life you think they should!
You know I'm right so you're trying to attack things like my paragraph structure and get into other arguments!
The only reason my comments may not make sense to anyone, bismark, is because of the blindfold around their eyes not because of the way the words are being put together. People only see what they want to see. People only hear what they want to hear.

People need education not restriction!

If you make rules, people will break them! I've seen plenty of rule breaking of "getting around the rules"....BYU approved...if kids(and I mean kids)...can't have the opposite sex in their apartment after twelve at night...where do you think they're gonna go....not to bed! It would be A LOT safer if they could have them in their apartments...then they'd have roommates to worry about!
How many police officers children and Bishops children do you know that are the worst kids around? I know plenty!
If you don't allow alcohol in your apartment, they'll sneak it....if you don't want them to smoke, they'll smoke outside. wouldn't you rather be fully aware of what was happening then for it to be shocked when it does? And don't tell me that BYU approved makes that all many times in the news have you heard of byu kids getting in their own apartments! remember that girl last year that got "RAPED" by guys on the football team because she went to their APARTMENT and got DRUNK!

People need education not restriction!

No, I wouldn't

I'm not being cruel and unreasonable. I'm protecting my investment, as I would fully expect anybody else letting others using his property to do.
What they are doing is fine. You represent a market niche that nobody seems to want to fill at the moment. Therefore, you have two choices:

A) Quit your habits and get out of the niche. This will make renting much, much, easier for you.
B) Fill the niche, either through persuading current landlords that they should change their arrangements or becoming a landlord yourself.

Landlords are not concerned with YOUR situation; they have THEIR situation to worry about. You represent an expensive risk to them. Either minimize it or eliminate it, or leverage it in other ways. In any case, stop whining.

get off your high horse

I told you not to tell me to stop whining...Your what's wrong w/ the world today not me... grow up! stop telling others what to do! I've lived in plenty of housing (yes even byu approved)...and my moms a landlord...I know how the system works! In eight months time I will be able to have my own place...maybe I will be a landlord...and I'll rent to people because of who they are not because I ASSume they're a certain way and will do certain things...general rule in life...if you treat people w/ respect, they'll treat you w/ respect. NO not always, Mother Thersea always said that if someones not kind to you, be kind to them anyway... "turn the other cheek." You want to make a generalization: I know plenty of RM's who are NOT good guys...and just as many guys who never went on missions who are knights! You just have such a tight knit closed mind that you can't see that! Your system is as flawed as the justice system! the church is perfect, the people are not...if you were ALIVE you'd see that! I pity you...I feel sorry for you...I honestly do. I'm scared for Provo! Ever heard of the Pride Cycle? Christ never taught that you should only let people in if they live the way YOU think is right. HE always said to open your hearts to everyone..."when you're in the service of your fellow're in the service of your god." When you die are you going to be remembered for that stupid property? Or are you going to be remembered for how open your heart was? And which one really matters?

I know the world is run on money

I smoke outside because I don't like the damage either. I spray myself w/ deodorizer as well. BO smells terrible too but you would rent to someone who didn't take a shower everyday. As far as drinking...I have never vomited on the floor, or outside and I have never broken anything! I have a cat that is very clean. The only thing I understand about pets is that afterwards it may be hard to rent because of allergies. I've had my cat sense I moved to seven's not that easy just to get rid of her...anyone who's had a pet would understand that. That's the problem...people are too quick to judge...I'm not irresponsible or WT(I'm not saying that you're calling me that) because of these things...I'm very respectful!

Don't tell me not to whine...people should change their Ideas because it makes sense and they're being cruel and unreasonable...I know the world is run on doesn't make it right...if you were in my situation you'd be a little put out too!

I'm Homeless due to BYU approved housing

I've lived in Provo for seven years! and yet I'm homeless! Why? first, Because all the student's have come back! secondly...close mindedness! I'm LDS but I don't live the so-called "lifestyle". I smoke, I drink sometimes and yes I have sex. However, I have a very strong testimony...I have no doubts that God loves me and that he is real even if I'm not molly mormon, He knows my heart! he know's who I am! I know that Joseph Smith saw what he saw and was a real true prophet, as well as Gorden B. Hinkley! I saw an add for someone looking for a "mature female roommate" that didn't smoke, drink and had "high LDS standards" a little contradictory if you ask me! If YOU are mature you should know that just because a person doesn't go to BYU and isn't molly Mormon or peter priesthood doesn't mean they're a bad person who's gonna rob you in your sleep! Every apartment is BYU approved and it's a joke...I'm not the only one who's homeless because of this! If Brigham Young knew what the mindset of a lot of the BYU students and professors was he'd be turning in his grave! If pres Hinkley REALLY knew what was happening at that school, he'd close it down. It is not Christlike! LDS standards should be opening your heart to everyone not the so-called "select" "elite" "best of the best" I'm open to anyone, people can live the way they wanna live! "those who are without sin, cast the first stone!" If someone wants to be everything they think god's asking them to be great! If they wanna be in a cult great! but don't judge others for not being you! BYU student's are not the only one's who live in provo! I shouldn't be homeless, I shouldn't be banned from my hometown for being a little different!

I feel your pain, man. I

I feel your pain, man. I remember those days, living in a truck for two weeks one summer and with some married friends (hello, awkward) the next summer. Not everyone can afford a mandatory vacation home. When I thought I was out of options, I was really close to moving in with a girl friend (note the space) because I was angry about the situation and not about to spend $400 to go "home" for two weeks (not to mention the luggage).

But, now I'm managing some apartments, and I see the other side of it. Believe me, it's not fun checking out 200 people on the same day, or checking in 200 people on the same day. Unfortunately, since we're approved housing, we have to house BYU students, and therefore the contract runs by semesters. We need that extra week (it's only a week here in Rexburg) to clean up the messes that all the tenants have left behind and prep the places for new residents.

It sucks. For everyone. I don't have any solutions. Except, if you have the means, you could just camp in the mountains for a couple weeks. I actually remember my truck residence with some humor.


I have never understood the whole "BYU Approved Housing" system in Utah County. What is the logical justification behind it? I'm sure that an educational institution has some interest in providing housing for students (particularly freshmen and newly arriving students) but at some point, shouldn't students be free to choose where and how they live?

BYU students are all adults, right? How is this preparing them for life away from BYU?

And what business does a school have in telling private individuals (such as apartment owners) how to run their businesses? Could I be denied an apartment in one of these complexes if I don't meet the standards of some school I don't even attend?

It all seems remarkably dictatorial for a society which likes to proclaim the virtues of "freedom" at every possible opportunity.

I have never understood the

I have never understood the whole "BYU Approved Housing" system in Utah County. What is the logical justification behind it? I'm sure that an educational institution has some interest in providing housing for students (particularly freshmen and newly arriving students) but at some point, shouldn't students be free to choose where and how they live?

For the most part, they are. Attending to BYU means agreeing to abide by certain rules (which are forced on noone, people freely choose to).

BYU students are all adults, right? How is this preparing them for life away from BYU?

This is a good point. I could only say that this is an aspect of the BYU experience that is consistent with what people expect, but may not be the best solution in all cases.

And what business does a school have in telling private individuals (such as apartment owners) how to run their businesses?

The only business is that if they want BYU endorsement, they can freely choose to adopt the standards. They are not obligated to use such paradigm, but neither is BYU required to include them in a system that students also agreed upon.

Could I be denied an apartment in one of these complexes if I don't meet the standards of some school I don't even attend?

Probably. I know people who don't attend BYU, yet they live in BYU-approved housing.

Now, before addressing your question in a more precise way, let me ask you something: in a free market society, are you entitled to have a certain product available to you? Is it unfair is such product you want is not offered as abundantly as you prefer?

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet, Shakespeare

What is the logical

What is the logical justification behind it?

Making it difficult for non-married BYU students to have sex with each other.

And what business does a school have in telling private individuals (such as apartment owners) how to run their businesses?

BYU recognizes the power they have over the housing market in Provo. If housing complexes don't abide by BYU's decrees, then BYU simply won't allow students living in that complex to attend, and their business evaporates. Not the most ethical thing to do, if you ask me, but that's a topic for another thread...

Up here in Rexburg, BYU-I

Up here in Rexburg, BYU-I has run into a semi-serious problem. The guidelines for approval are more stringent than Provo. Last year a bunch of women's approved private housing had trouble filling spots, so a significant portion switched over to men's housing. Now we get weekly calls from the housing office on campus desperate for openings because they are short 500 beds for approved single women.

I don't feel a whole lot of sympathy. You try and control a market, you deal with the consequences. I'm sure there are plenty of (now) men's housing that would be happy to sell off a building or two to fill contracts with women, but the BYU-I policies won't allow it.

They've kinda shot themselves in the foot.

market power

BYU exercises a huge amount of control over the apartment market in Provo. What they say, goes. They could mandate that all BYU students are to eat oatmeal for breakfast, and if the apartment complexes refused to police residents' breakfast-eating habits, then BYU could simply withdraw their endorsement of the complex and their business would disappear. This type of a situation leaves the business owners with little to no leverage in negotiating with the university. It's a coercive business situation that doesn't leave apartment owners with a lot of options.

Additionally, it seems to me that if the powers that be were legitimately concerned about helping and protecting their students (and not just enforcing the honor code), they would address the abuse students routinely suffer at the hands of apartment complex management and landlords. How come landlords can force residents to move out before or during finals? Why is it okay that they steal thousands of dollars from students through dishonest cleaning check procedures? In the BYU's eyes, all these things are totally acceptable, as long as nobody wears a bikini at the swimming pool.

And lastly, some of BYU's housing guidelines seem totally arbitrary. For instance, the new rule that single students live within a two-mile radius of campus. Does the Spirit depart once you leave that radius? Does living further away place students outside of Brigham's watchful eye? The regulation is absolutely meaningless, and will hurt some of the further-away apartment complexes that would otherwise meet BYU standards.

Arguing 101

I'm going to address this. If for no other reason than that I would like to the level of discourse on this forum elevated to at least a high school level. I've seen it happen before on other threads.

And ProvoPulse seems to be somewhat lacking for commentary, so perhaps this will encourage people to say something useful.

Now, to discuss what lonelis06 had to say.

First up on the chopping block: structure and coherency. If you really are trying to persuade people to your point of view, you need to make that view accessible. That necessitates placing your arguments into organizational units. Paragraphs are typically considered acceptable. Proper punctuation and grammar makes people happy, and I don't have to look at annoying squiggly lines when I'm using FireFox 2.0

Second up: "ad hominem" attacks. "You moron" is not an effective attack. I'm actually quite bright. Smarter, I'm willing to wager, than you. Name your intellectual contest, and I'd be happy to have a go. So calling me a moron doesn't enhance your argument.

You say "You know I'm right so you're trying to attack things like my paragraph structure." Actually, paragraph structure is somewhat tangential to the main thrust of your argument. But I think you're wrong, for reasons I've listed in previous points, namely:

--Your unwillingness to change your own behavior
--Your refusal to accept marketplace economics
--Your hypocrisy in asking others to change when you won't
--Your fallacious argument that because some people will break some rules some of the time, then one shouldn't have any rules at all. You offer no support for this argument. I find it uncompelling.

Lastly, you indulge in what's called a "Straw Man" fallacy. This is what occurs when you accuse your opponent of holding a position that he or she does not, in actuality, hold. Examples of this would include your writing: "You'd rent to any religion as long as they did what they were told, and lived the life you think they should." That is not a position I've taken. As a matter of fact, I was very explicit in writing that I'm not on a moral crusade in my renting. People following rules they contractually agree with is entirely different from people living the life I think they should. And that doesn't even touch on the subject that somehow, you think you know how I think others should lead their lives.

If you have anything further to add, you're welcome to.

and thus you won't get

and thus you won't get any...

And if I catch you

I'll kick you out, then sue you for the damage and breach of contract if the damages exceed your deposit.

plenty of people think byu

plenty of people think byu approved housing is lame, but you have to keep your arguments well reasoned and coherent for people to give you any respect.

Oh brother

Okay, a couple things up front:
Your credibility is directly related to your coherency. Don't use ellipsis points. Try to break your points into paragraphs. Don't create straw men fallacies.

Okay, now for the fun stuff:
I'm not what's wrong with the world. I worked to have what I have. If people want to use my property, they have to abide by my rules. I see nothing wrong in abiding by rules. My rules may differ from the rules of other apartment complexes. Such is how the marketplace operates. Many people are willing to abide by my rules, which makes my property marketable.

Don't know where exactly that RM argument comes into play. I never said I rented strictly to Mormons; as a matter of fact, if you read my first post, you would see that I wrote, rather emphatically, "I am not on a moral crusade." I don't care if you're Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, atheist, or any other denomination. I discriminate based on behavior, not on belief system.

Next, you wrote "Your system is as flawed as the justice system." I won't jump to any conclusions about your involvement with the justice system, much as I would like to. Which justice system are you referring to? I've worked for two of them, Utah's JJS and Federal DHS. If you'd like to get into a discussion about the flaws of the justice system, fine, but from my point of view your analogy is lame.

Lastly, my heart IS open to everyone. My property, however, is not. My property is my livelihood. I can't do any good for anyone if I'm losing money.

But hey, that was a good straw man you knocked down. Way to see things from the landlord's point of view rather than your own instrinsically selfish one. You insist others change, yet seem strikingly unwilling to change your own behavior. You throw all kinds of moral axioms out, but don't understand that others may use their own judgment in evaluating you as well.

i would never live with

i would never live with someone who smokes, because it smells terrible. its not a judgement on that person, thats just how it is.

Tenants and smoking

I rent out some of my property. Smoking and drinking are both expressly banned. Not because I'm on a moral crusade, but because I happen to value my property. Oh, pets are banned inside too. Here's why:

Smoking will devalue a property faster than almost anything. Allowing people to smoke indoors would mean I'd have to either rent to smokers forever, or pay to have the smell cleared out at the end of the lease. And that means complete carpet-cleaning, complete reupholstering, whitewashing the walls, and flushing my air ducting. It would represent around $1500 to $2000. Not to mention the added risk of fire incurred by smoking.

Drinking also increases the risk of damage to the property. Having friends over who drink dramatically increases that risk. I don't want the vomitous remnants of last night's binge soaking into my property's carpet or onto the lawn.

Pets should be self-explanatory.

Now, Provo is a marketplace, just like anywhere else in the US. If you came to me and asked to rent, I would say sure, but I'm going to take on an extra grand and a half to the deposit to cover the damage that smoking does. If you feel discontent with that, you are welcome to purchase property of your own, rent it to smokers, and enjoy witnessing the fiscal disaster that results.

You'll see me say this a lot: You're in a marketplace. Don't whine about being discriminated against, because nobody is going to change their ideas to make you happy-- they'll only change their ways if they can make money off of you. If they won't change their ways, perhaps it's time to consider investing in an apartment of your own.

Why not ethical?

People need to understand that it is a market issue. BYU sets standards for their students, and not for the whole community. They do so for many reasons (BYU is a portfolio for the LDS church, image of sobriety, blah blah, etc. etc.), and one of them is that many people WANT the BYU experience, and BYU fulfills a market need in that regard (yes, there are some of us who are not looking for moral diversity but rather for a very LDS-centric college experience). Complex owners freely choose to abide by BYU standards because they want BYU students' business. BYU students freely choose to abide by BYU standards because they want the BYU experience (and if they don't, well, I just hope they took everything into account before signing up, they can't blame anybody other than themselves). Those who don't want the BYU experience are not obliged in the least. There is PLENTY of non-BYU-approved housing in the Provo/Orem area targeted at single people, and thus there is no moral/economic monopoly of any sort at play.

Where is the unfairness? Is it too hard to understand that some people:
1) Want the LDS-centric atmosphere?
2) Don't want to deal with the housing issues so prevalent at other college campuses? (e.g. dealing with an drunk roomate, having your roommate's friends crashing at whatever time during the night, being umcomfortable in their own apt. because his roommate is having sex with his girlfriend in the shower, etc.) If that's OK with you, fine. It doesn't have to be OK for everyone, and BYU offers a nice alternative to that.
3) Signed up according to their own wishes and free will, and therefore their rights are not being tampered with in any form?

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet, Shakespeare


I completely agree with your last comment. While I don't exactly agree with BYU's policy, nobody can legitimately denounce the free market that reigns in Provo. While it may be "offensive" to some, others enjoy the protection of the honor code both at school and at home. The students have a choice, the school has a choice, and the apartment complexes have a choice. Just because the clerk at Catholic Creations doesn't want to sell me a Book of Mormon doesn't mean I'm justified in my frustration.

Good points.

Those are some good points. I do agree that BYU exercises more power than it should and sometimes it really doesn't make any sense. On the other hand, although not positive, I would imagine that most apartment complex owners in the community realized beforehand that they would be subject to BYU's policy (and its modifications) not only at the time they started managing the complexes, but indefinitely. That's probably the most prominent case. It is sad for those complex owners that have been overgrown by BYU's policy after their initial startup. In the end though, I can't see any lawyer pulling the monopoly card on BYU.

I have no sympathy for students that have to abide by the policy, because nobody's making them go to BYU. Yes, it sucks, and I don't agree with it...I complained about it too...but nothing's keeping the students here except their own preference.

Yeah, good points.

Yeah, good points.

My two cents

Having worked at one of Provo's largest student housing complexes for a number of years I can tell you from first hand observation that many landlords are frustrated with the BYU housing standards office.
Rules are changed often, but even worse these rules are enforced intermittently, and usually with more than just a touch of cronyism. Some apartments sail through yearly inspections with little more than a glance, while others get the rubber glove and Vaseline treatment. That is the way it goes.
I also feel little remorse for students who knowingly sign up for BYU-Approved housing and then are shocked when they get evicted for breaking the honor code. The contracts are pretty straightforward.
And though I don’t agree with any entity telling grown adults what they can do when it comes to their personal lives, in this particular situation BYU has the right to do so. And the adults that attend that institution have chosen to be confined to those rules. So be it.

I agree with y'all to a point

A couple of things though:
-vegor mentioned that some complexes are examined more strictly than others. Could it be that there have been problems reported about that specific complex? I'm not defending the BYU Housing office, but I think it would be unfair to overlook that possibility.
-I *would* have agreed with Steez909 if he hadn't been so sarcastic. I agree with him in that the 2 mile radius rule does not make sense to me. I would have prefered to know the reasons for this rule before making allusions to the spirit or Brigham though. Also the breakfast remark is completely irrelevant and unrelated.
-About the coercive business relation point, I think it would be interesting to talk about it before coming up with conclusions. I don't think there is a monopoly in the Provo area on that regard. Also, I don't think BYU has to ask complexes before enacting a rule regarding students, regardless of whether it affects it businesses or not.

Do entities have to have leverage on a negotiation or deal? No, provided they can opt out of the deal. Are they entitled to have a part on a deal? (e.g. do complexes have the right to be provided with student customers?) I don't think they are.

Steez909, when is the last time you were able to bargain about taxes, grocery prices, etc.? I don't think it's an unfair situation if you don't have the leverage to negotiate on all your dealings. And, at any rate, the only one who should be concerned with ensuring you do have the leverage to negotiate is yourself. Further, I don't think it is immoral if your leverage is not protected (in fact, a free market economy works in a very amoral manner).

That being said, I don't think ALL situations in which things like this happen are OK. I do oppose monopolies and cartels, but I do so because they are against the premises of free market. I don't think this is the case with BYU approved housing though, considering that the young single housing market in the Provo area is not ALL looking for BYU approved housing. In fact, we may argue the opposite, that non-BYU students are having problems finding housing (I know quite a few instances of this).

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet, Shakespeare

The Radius Rule

For those of you concerned about the welfare of the poor and unfortunate landlords around BYU who have to put up with the Big Bad BYU Housing Office, you should be happy for the 2 mile radius rule. BYU is trying to do them a solid. By shrinking the supply of available housing, they will be able to raise the price with the increased demand. Cha-ching!

Yearly inspections

Could it be that there have been problems reported about that specific complex?

Certainly. But I also noticed that some housing went years without inspections, particularly those in Orem. And that one year you would get dinged for something, and the next year they wouldn't care at all. The Housing Authority needs a more balanced approach to certification...and from what I heard at the time that is one of the reasons for the radius policy. They hope to be more efficient and complete in their policing.

My point has been that it is very difficult for a landlord to stay competitive in a market where the rules are strict for some and lax for others.

There was talk at the time of the initial radius policy that perhaps all incoming BYU freshmen would have to live in the dorms their first year. There were also rumors of knocking down DT and building some super dorms south of campus. I never heard anymore on the it must have gone away.

All of this is evidence, to me at least, that the leaders of BYU feel that their students cannot be trusted when left to their own devices and need to be monitored 24/7. Why any self-respecting adult would subject themselves to that kind of tyranny is beyond me.

But people do freely put themselves in that situation, so they have absolutely nothing to complain about.

I *would* have agreed with

I *would* have agreed with Steez909 if he hadn't been so sarcastic.

You don't have to agree with me about anything, but I don't see how my sarcasm changed the basic nature of my arguments. If you disagree with me, please do so by refuting my points rather than criticizing the manner in which they were communicated.

Also the breakfast remark is completely irrelevant and unrelated.

I admit the use of hyperbole, but the example was meant to illustrate the ridiculous consequences that could result from the over-exercise of certain powers.

I will try to be less sarcastic, though. The BYU Housing Office isn't a power-hungry band of Nazis or anything. I just think that their rules are rather arbitrary at times, and while they have no legal obligation to give Provo business owners negotiating leverage, I think it's in the best interest of both parties to build positive business relationships, where there is less opportunity for coercion.

Steez909, when is the last time you were able to bargain about taxes, grocery prices, etc.?

Well, I vote in a manner that reflects my views on taxes, and the other day I decided to shop at Reams instead of the more-expensive Albertsons. But your analogy is irrelevant. BYU and surrounding apartment complexes aren't really in a government-citizen or producer-consumer relationship. The rules that apply when I buy groceries are going to be different from the rules that apply to whatever business relationship exists between the BYU housing office and local apartment complex owners.

Same ol', same ol'

Again, the apartment complexes placed themselves under BYU policy. Although BYU can't be more rigorous than the policy entails, they can surely be random in the intensity of their checks to any level under that fact it may be on purpose. You'll see the same thing at an airport these days. They might open your bag and search around, or they might not; they might pull you off to the side to do a random pat-down, or they might not; they might make you take off your shoes, they might not. Whatever the case, when you buy your ticket, you know you're going to be subject to any level of search. One of their biggest deterrents is the randomness of checks, for obvious reasons.

Again, I don't endorse all their actions, but I do believe there's some logic behind most of it.