Orem PD cracks down on homeless hostel
Orem, Utah —
(KUTV) Marlene Kaiser and her son Robert, "Magic Bowl Bob," say they are doing a service for Orem, Utah, and the homeless men who live there.
Kaiser said she and her son began renting out rooms in their Orem home at about 700 West 700 North in 2001. She says she rents beds, 10 total in the home, to homeless men.
"The average person who comes here has a disability check of around $700," said Kaiser. She said renting in Utah County is too expensive for many of the people who come to her. "You cannot find a rental in Orem for less than $800 and many are $1000."
What Kaiser sees as an act of charity, many of the neighbors see as potentially dangerous to their families.
"They are a drug house," said Melinda Chamberlain, who lives across the street from the home. She said the hostel is a place where people are often using drugs. "My children have walked by and seen them shooting up in the window over there," Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain said she has heard that many of those who drift in and out of the home have ties to the notorious Rainbow Family. The group of thousands meet periodically throughout the country. In 2014, in the Uinta Mountains, a woman, nicknamed Hitler, was arrested and charged with stabbing another woman. Chamberlain said it is that element that concerns her.
"They come and go so we never actually know whose going to be there," Chamberlain said. 2 News spoke to a man who says he is a member of the Rainbow Family. He says he has been drifting in and out of the Orem hostel for years.
Court documents say there have been as many as 120 calls to police regarding the home since 2006. Kaiser says that number sounds inflated, and says she is only trying to help the homeless men who live in Orem, who can't afford to live any place else.
Police recently served a search warrant on the home, and found small amounts of drugs. Robert Kaiser was cited. Marlene said since the last visit by police there have only been four people living in the home.