No one is claiming the Olympics will solve poverty in Utah, so advocates for the poor have not addressed the issue of the Games' impact on low-income residents.
They're wondering, though, if that shouldn't be cause for concern.What, they ask, will the impact be on affordable housing, jobs and competition for money if the Olympics don't pay for them-selves.
One thing seems clear: Money generated by the Games will probably not find its way into the pockets of the poor.
"I just don't think the money generated will get down to the people who are having a hard time right now," said Joe Duke-Rosati, Salt Lake Community Action Program.
"I think Councilman (Stuart R.) Reid is well-grounded in expressing concern for the social impacts on poor people, especially those on fixed incomes," said Bill Walsh, director of Utah Issues. "Some mitigation or impact planning - serious planning - is good social policy, and I don't think it's being done."
Walsh worries that the Games could further strangle an already short supply of affordable housing. And it's possible, he said, that an Olympic season in the Salt Lake area could attract people from outside who need work. If that work is not available, Utah may inherit even more people in economic crisis.
Steve Johnson, director of Utahns Against Hunger, believes that even if newcomers find the work they seek, they might just be replacing Utahns who could do the work - and need it.
"And would the jobs created by the Olympics be the type that would allow a family to sustain itself?" he asked.
Johnson is also concerned about "a competition for resources at all levels of government. Without being certain the Olympics would be able to pay for themselves, we should be cautious. Would we see the needs of people have to compete with the need to pay the Olympic bill?"
"It might be great for the majority of citizens and businesses if the Olympics came and lots of new business came in, but that would squeeze the rental and home purchasing - it could squeeze it out of sight. They're bad now," said Walsh. "There's greater demand for short-term housing. It will take a lot of preparation, and that is one of the questions that ought to be studied. We don't know how long before the Games the greatest demand would assert itself. I think it would predate the Olympics themselves, but by how much and how intensely - those are real legitimate questions."
Johnson sees a broader economic concern.
"At what point do we hold back on trying to sell the state of Utah to the rest of the country and the world in a way that draws people in? The Olympics are supposed to be a big commercial to the state of Utah. Does that draw in more people who will then strain the existing infrastructure?
"Too often what's forgotten is the impact on communities. Utah doesn't have any sort of policy, nor do local governments, that require people to deal with economic development to cover those costs."