We Are Your Official Candidate

Salt Lake City,

Today we became your official candidate for the Utah House Of Representatives! 

We need your support! 

Join our fight against gentrification and for the rights of those experiencing homelessness! Our fight for criminal justice reform, healthcare, those living paycheck to paycheck! 
Our fight is to bring representation to all who suffer with substance abuse, who are denied opportunity because of criminal persecution! Fighting for those who see their rents rise, and paychecks shrink! 

Our fight is your fight, for only when those who have nothing can achieve something, we all win everything! 

Volunteer at voteryan24.com/volunteer
Donate at voteryan24.com/donate

Become a delegate March 20th and give us your vote April 14th! Find your Neighborhood Caucus @ vote.utah.gov

Ryan James Parker


We Can and We Must


Salt Lake City,

Nearly 3 years ago I walked onto the streets of Rio Grande inside the doors of The Road Home and began my work as an Advocate for those experiencing homelessness.

I have had the honor and burden of providing services to a plethora of individuals who culminate across the social spectrum. The triumph and tragedies shared between the tiresome social workers and the never ending wave of people they serve is a marvel unlike anything seen.

Along the way I have had the unfortunate privilege of sitting front row to somber passings of people some right before my arms. This community for years issued cries for help and the response was less than promising.

In the midst of all the chaos cities decided that shelters were the barriers, not the rising rents. 
Counties decided locations were better removed from the community, then made to feel included. States decided that a city was facing a burgeoning public nuisance, instead of recognizing the State on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.

I am running to bring resourcefulness, inclusivity, rationality, and solutions to the 24th District as well as to the rest of our communities.

Homelessness is a story of wages, inflation, criminal reform, healthcare, education.

We can an we must Make A Difference that will lead us for years to come.

Become a delegate March 20th, vote for me April 14th at the County Convention.

Volunteer at voteryan24.com

Donate $5 or $10 at voteryan24.com/donate

Standing by the convictions we hold so dear we will see Affordable Housing, educational growth, job opportunities, and second chances remind us here in my beloved state: That we only profit by investing in people.

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much- Helen Keller

Ryan J. Parker

Operation Rio Grande- House Committee Testimony

Good Morning,

I will begin by thanking all the committee members in attendance here today, for allowing me to be a part of what is one of the many crucial and consequential discussions we will be having this legislative session, and surely will be continuing to have for many years to come. My statement will attempt to be brief as to afford the same privilege to other citizens in attendance eager to address this committee, offering their hearts and minds as I do now. I will offer my official transcript to be submitted for the record as well as to each member of the committee.

My name is Ryan James Parker, and I am a Client Advocate. I have the privilege of serving those experiencing homelessness, and the honor of being employed at The Road Home Emergency Resource Center on Rio Grande Street in Downtown Salt Lake City. I will not be speaking on behalf of The Road Home, I do not represent it's Administration, Staff, nor Shelter The Homeless Board, our agency partners, or contributors. I am speaking on behalf of myself as a provider to over 700 men and women whose backgrounds comprise of the most extraordinarily diverse demographics our illustrious communities have to offer. These citizens are residents of this neighborhood whom are directly impacted by the policies set before us here today. I have been entrusted with the sacred privilege of vocalizing the concerns surrounding these initiatives, many of which are shared sentiments by this beautiful culmination of people.

This neighborhood has gone thru a dramatic transformation in the last several months, preceded by years of increasing suffering, desperation, and exploitation in this forgotten community. I want to thank our legislative body for acknowledging the humanitarian crisis we have been facing on our own for far too long.

We thank you for remembering that public safety is as important on Rio Grande as it is in Daybreak. We thank UHP for their support of the Salt Lake City Police Department, all who recognize the responsibility of community policing among a population that is distrusting, weary, terrified, and traumatized by past encounters of injustice. We must ensure in supporting our law enforcement presence we provide ample means to maintain the integrity of their positions, and safeguard against unintended consequences of enforcing erroneous policy actions. We must ensure the constitutional protections, and rights to due process as described in our 4th amendment which are afforded to citizens of Rio Grande as much as they are afforded to those in Sandy. We must continue to disrupt the activities of exploitation in the forms of narcotics trafficking, sexual predation, violence and intimidation. As well as ensuring human dignity and compassion acknowledging that the vicious cycle of poverty does not simply transcribe in black and white but in a sea of gray. We must err on the side of caution to be forever vigilant, and understanding that not everything is as it appears, and that everyone has a story. That with little to know access of social integration, and opportunity we can be just as responsible for the disabled immigrant illegally selling prescription drugs as we are for the young mother fleeing from domestic abuse who is purchasing the drugs from him.

We must ensure the continued access to treatment for those coping with mental illness, and we must ensure that treatment options are broad serving all ailments across the board. We must ensure that we supplement all treatment options, to remember that substance abuse is an effect not a cause of mental illness. Self-medication is the direct result of ever increasing prescription drug prices, and high deductibles of costly health insurance. We must be mindful of the arduous process of recovery, the long journey that starts pre-treatment, and post-treatment such as Mayor Ben McAdams Sober Living Scholarships. To return a struggling individual to the same community with no support system is irresponsible at best. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. We are in it for the long haul. We must ensure that we establish a coalition of providers as far as Utah County and beyond to avoid the burdensome responsibility of a few facilities to provide services to a booming population, for substance abuse impacts all neighborhoods in our state. A blessing and burden which The Road Home understands all to well.

We must continue our efforts to providing employment opportunities, efforts for many years have been championed by the Weigand Center and Catholic Community Services. We must ensure that these employment opportunities are as diverse as our population. That bonding programs, transportation assistance, and union advancements can be afforded to many clients who have years of educational and trade experiences that are overshadowed by past misfortunes, and breaks of social contracts. Dignity of Employment comes the acknowledgment that every citizen is of worth today regardless of yesterday. We can no longer hold our marginalized communities to inappropriate standards, continuously being our own barriers to integration. We can no longer ask these beautiful souls to forever carry their scarlet letter of human error.

We must ensure with the dignity of constitutional adherence, dignity of competent treatment access, and dignity of employment is all followed by dignity of tenancy. Affordable Housing has become established as the endgame, in a multi-level bipartisan fashion. This is a sigh of relief to providers and communities victim of Gentrification, wage stagnation, and rent inflation. Marty Bloustein and Utah Legal Services in 2016 led the charge in reforming the Judicial rule 26.3 requiring “Factual Basis for Eviction” protecting tenants from frivolous claims by property managers. Utah is still regarded as a landlord-friendly state, it's this body's responsibility to acknowledge the harsh truth that while Utah ranks 35th in affordable housing per capita, with the United States most vibrant economy we must reform this balance of landlord/tenant provisions, alongside the abundance of units and reevaluating what we consider “Affordable”. We can no longer afford to cherry-pick our poverty. Systemic issues, require Systemic Changes be made.

While this collective focuses on Operation Rio Grande I implore the willingness to understand that to concentrate this discussion on 2 square blocks is to commit a disservice of the entire state of affairs. I struggle everyday to keep my head above the endless and ever growing tide of wave after wave after wave of our states misplaced, and abandoned. Salt Lake City may just be the 38th largest city in the U.S, yet the Wasatch Front from Tremonton to Payson is the 8th largest urban corridor in the nation. The Road Home, CCS, VOA, Valley, 4th Street we don't solely serve the city's population experiencing homelessness. We serve the State's citizens on trapped in poverty.

In closing we must continue our efforts, as well as acknowledge how are they to be measured. If our focus is a pleasant shopping experience, and not the 116 sons, fathers, mothers, daughters, grandparents, veterans, and refugees who passed away on our streets last year then what are we really fighting to change? Our commitment to local businesses must be matched by our commitment to the elderly. We must overcome our implicit biases, and differences to capture the spirit which is of community. We must begin by adapting with our population experiencing homelessness, and stop reacting.

Adapting is the embodiment of services at The Road Home. I must learn how to adapt. I carry with me a form being an authorized 3rd party by DWS to administer and monitor entrance in your “Safe Space”. I must overcome my disagreements of a public thoroughfare being used to track and count citizens eroding their protections of privacy and anonymity, for the greater good of my continuing commitment to serve them. This wasn't in my job description, but yet I adapt because my commitment to our people is greater than the commitment to my political incantations. This body can continue to adapt by continuing to provide aide to our desperate fight. We must match our resolve to law enforcement, to our commitment of housing. I regularly check in over 200 women experiencing homelessness, and do you know how many case managers I have? One. I regularly check in over 450 men experiencing homelessness, do you know how many case managers I have? One. We our out manned and outgunned, we need more firepower. We and so many like us are destined to succeed, but our bureaucracies our built to fail. Even through the endless onslaught of media and political opprobrium we still stand and we continue to serve! When detractors revel in our perceived failures, we continue to sweep up the broken pieces in which they sent them to us!

We don't stand for grandstanding and posturing, and we are unmoved by the self-righteous pontificating. We our moved by children who mend hats and pass them out on 5th West. We our moved by the Health Department offering free flu shots, we our moved by barbers, and volunteers who come to draw and read to our children in Midvale. We don't value tax cuts, we value clean socks. We know that when Rio Grande succeeds, we all do.

Our model of success does not solely pertain to our clients inflicted with mental illness and/or substance abuse. It does not solely measure our SSVF Veterans Housing program, or our Housing Not Jails program. It is measured for the day that no one is left out in the cold. For the day when a person doesn't stumble in our doors wearing nothing but a hospital gown. The day where this staff member doesn't have to perform CPR on a client I know has passed, but continues anyway because that is what we came here to do.

The Road Home will still be here, splitting our last mite with those who in the Winter storm of life lost their way. Shining in the dark that Universal light of liberty. Standing at the door reciting Give me your tired, you poor, your huddled masses. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send those the homeless, the tempest-tossed to me! I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door! We will always be here to lift the lamp, I ask only that you make sure the door can be opened!

Thank You,

Sincerely, Ryan James Parker

Substance Abuse Treatment

Everything changes, and nothing changes...

Operation Rio Grande's 2nd Phase: substance abuse treatment was the "PR" saving grace of the operation to sell to John Q. public that it was about more than simply rounding up our cities most vulnerable and tossing them in jails. Phase 2 is centered around substance abuse treatment for those experiencing homelessness. Honest assessment is that most of those experiencing homelessness, agencies, and even this advocate agreed that treatment access is a crucial need.  The concern however has been affordability for these treatment programs not just availability. Recently state officials had a ribbon cutting for Odyssey House the largest treatment organization in SL County. With more beds and an implemented Phase we should have finally cut that dreaded red tape right?

Well as come to find out that cost is still a barrier. 

Recipients of Public Health providers such as PCN/Medicaid or no insurance have to be referred by Community Connections (Salt Lake County/City branch of social workers employed by the city and SLCPD) to apply for cost assistance for inpatient treatment. Community Connections however no longer does walk-ins, must call(a full mailbox) to make an appointment. So all those that are coming from Rio Grande to treatment has one common thread-arrest. Those in treatment are currently being diverted from jail to treatment(which I support), meaning the only access for substance abuse inpatient for those experiencing homelessness is thru arrest. 


After all the panels, all the photo ops, and all the speeches the fact remains treatment is still unaffordable as ever before, and Phase 2 is only viable if criminal charges are involved. 


We can do better, we must FUND treatment, and we must make our insurance programs for the indigent cover all needs. 


Ryan J. Parker

"Make A Difference 

Official Campaign Launch


We have officially launched our campaign for the Utah House Of Representatives for the 24th District! Our focus is on the needs of the community including Affordable Housing, increased wages, and Healthcare. We also stand with our communities experiencing homelessness and will represent everyone in our district regardless of forwarding address! Please sign up to donate and/or volunteer today!