Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-day series on homelessness, the issues that are keeping people living on the streets of Salt Lake City, and what can be done to help.
SALT LAKE CITY — Bare, frostbitten toes on size 14½ feet stand out in a crowd. These ones are scabrous and peeling, whitish and bluish with one entirely black and clearly gangrenous. They belong to a lanky African-American man nicknamed Preach, who on a balmy spring day is sunning himself on the sidewalk next to the Catholic Community Service center on Rio Grande Street.
Next to Preach is a brilliant purple pair of brand new size 16 basketball shoes, large enough to fit over his swollen feet, a gift from his brother who just got out of jail. He’ll put them on, he says, when he has some socks.
“Preach” sits on the sidewalk outside the Catholic Community Services (200 S. and 500 W.) next to the Road Home, called “The Block,” in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Preach was wearing shoes too tight which caused sores and for him to go without shoes in the cold which led to bad frostbite on his toes. | Nicole Boliaux, Deseret News
Preach knows he needs treatment fast, and he knows he can find it at the Fourth Street Clinic, a free site a few blocks up the road. Badgered by a friend, he grudgingly agrees to have his toes looked at. He doesn’t trust doctors, he says.