Railroad Homeless Walk Saturday, February 22 • 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Get an up-close look at the hundreds of illegal, vagrant squatter camps being allowed in the area adjacent to the railroad tracks between Record Street and Wells Avenue.
With unlimited resources available to anyone on the street, Reno’s acceptance of this dangerous, unsanitary situation is not compassionate for those living in it, nor is it healthy for them OR the community.
The walk will leave from the corner of 4th & Record Streets at 9:00 a.m. this Saturday.
Questions? (775) 685.8200
Homeless (Community) Court Update
On Wednesday, February 19th, QOL-Reno took its first community members on a morning field trip to Community (Homeless) Court at the Downtown Library. Presiding Municipal Court Judge Tammy Riggs graciously answered QOL’s questions about the court’s operation.
QOL’s primary concern is that the proceedings of the community court should be audible to all visitors in the audience. Currently, audience members can hear nothing said by the judge, the defendants, or their lawyers because the existing sound system is not being used to amplify the discussions as is typical in all other public courts. Courtroom observers thus have NO way of hearing what crimes are being tried, what the judge’s, lawyers’ and defendants’ responses are, or what sentences are being handed down.
Judge Riggs promised QOL she would look into the possibility of amplifying the court proceedings presently held in the Downtown Library auditorium. A QOL-Reno investigation found that the library auditorium presently has a fully functioning sound system.
Audible court proceedings for visitors is critical to getting residents to support the community court “experiment” because the court is definitely an extremely liberal alternative to traditional municipal court.
QOL-Reno had many questions for Judge Riggs regarding the constitutional issues involved in establishing a court that offers a “special kind of justice” for only a select group of people from a particular component of Reno’s population (vagrants who commit non-violent misdemeanors within the Reno Business Improvement District boundaries). Judge Riggs explained that the court can try ANY defendant – homeless or not – who commits the specific crimes her court deals with, AND, with the stipulation that RPD refers them to the Community Court.
The biggest question QOL had for Judge Riggs, was why ANY “special court” is needed for ANYONE. The 14th Amendment demands that laws be applied equally to everyone, as well as the consequences for breaking them. (14th Amendment)
Judge Riggs believes that a community court is constitutional, and that the effect of her court on Reno’s recidivism statistics will be analyzed and reported on by a legal studies group at UNR. She stated that if her court’s results are not any better than traditional courts, then the court will possibly not be continued. Judge Riggs asked that the public be patient until her court’s effects on crime reduction can be fairly determined. QOL-Reno responded that providing amplified proceeding of the community court would be a powerful step in building the community’s trust and patience.
Progress is being made! Successes in cleaning out
vagrant-by-choice illegal camps
The struggle is a long, challenging one, and often seems temporary. Working to get Reno’s illegally camping vagrants-by-choice to either follow the law and accept abundant community resources, or … to move somewhere else.
However, results during the past few months prove that progress and ultimate success are possible.
Reno Police have played the major, leading role in cleaning out the following illegal camps, and deserve the entire community’s support and appreciation.
Pickett Park – RPD led two separate removals of large, entrenched illegal squatters that had ruined the park for most nearby residents.
Whitaker Park – RPD oversaw a full-clearing-minus-one of a large illegal camp that had troubled local residents for over a year. As of this date, however, residents have reported that illegal camps are returning.
Brodhead Park – RPD directed a full removal of polluting, riverfront camps that had existed for many years and was growing steadily more violent.
Fisherman’s/Champion Parks – This week, RPD cleared this park for approximately the third time. The clearing of this large-scale problem doesn’t last because not a single citation is issued and no arrests are made.
Waterfront camps on the south side of the river are still being allowed.
Paradise Park/Sparks Drive-In – While some illegally-camping RV’s remain in the Paradise Park parking lot, a large camp of over 2 dozen tents has been permanently removed by a combination of RPD and Sparks Police.
2 Private North Valley Properties – Both properties had over a dozen illegally camping vehicles and mountains of toxic waste, garbage, and sewage. With the support of RPD and QOL-encouraged citizens arrests, both properties were completely cleared, but it cost the property owners $25,000 and $10,000 respectively to remove the garbage while the perpetrators received no fine or jail time from the Municipal Court.
Private Property behind Lemon Valley Walmart – A dozen+ illegal tents and vehicles had illegally camped at this site for months. The vagrants were heavily stealing from the Walmart on a daily basis, and intimidating Walmart shoppers by glaring at them when they parked. With the support of RPD, and QOL-Reno filing Code Enforcement complaints and notifying the absentee owner of the situation, the lot is completely cleared. The Walmart manager said the intimidating behavior has stopped, and “the store is not getting robbed nearly as much as it was.”
A West Reno Private Riverfront Property adjacent to an upscale condominium development had a growing list of illegal squatters who were trespassing on the condominium property: using their water and electricity, and ruining the residents’ quality of life. QOL-Reno motivated the property owner to work with RPD on removing the vagrants, and the property was cleared within a week.
IT’S A CHOICE TO STAY HOMELESS
by Amanda Carter
Chronic homelessness is a choice. I am living proof that anyone experiencing homelessness can get out and stay out, if they want. I am a mother of 3. I am a survivor of human trafficking. I am an addict working a program of recovery. Yes, I have been and have experienced homelessness. From experience, I know, Reno City resources and community assistance programs work.
There are so many excuses as to why a person is unable to get off of the streets. I do NOT want to hear them anymore. The only answer that is honest to me is, “I DO NOT want to.” Getting off the street and into a place of stability requires a person to find God, get sober, address and manage mental health issues while working a legal job.
In some cases, such as mine, I asked Washoe County Human Services Agency to open up a case against me. Child Protective Services safely watched my kids when I went into an inpatient program (free of charge) in order to address the substance abuse issues I had. I trusted CPS to give me custody of my children back as long as I was a fit parent. If I wasn’t willing to put in the work and address the mental health issues I experienced as a result of the unhealthy lifestyle I had been living, then my children deserved better.
I wanted to get off the street and away from unhealthy lifestyle patterns. First I found a church home. Then I began to utilize several services available to our homeless population. I followed the suggestions offered by these agencies intended to bridge the gap out of poverty into a life of self-sufficiency. I sought mental health services (free of charge), and yes, I have a mental health diagnosis. This is not an excuse for laziness or inability to work. I was able to seek services that gave me a hand up (not hand-out) as long as I continued to work and participate in recovery. Job skills and training programs, continuing education, and job placement services are gifts I received as a result of the hard work I did. I now have full custody of my children and live in affordable housing without subsidy.
I am a firm believer that the only publicly-funded initiative, which needs to be supported, is getting our chronically homeless off the street and into programs specializing in addressing the needs of this population. Many of our substance abuse and mental health facilities already in place have housing available.
Giving chronically homeless a safe place to do drugs and commit crimes is not the answer and is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Giving our chronically homeless population a safe place to live without requiring sobriety and providing optional services is a catalyst to community-destruction.
Our community has a surplus amount of resources that can be accessed by any and everybody experiencing homelessness or temporary poverty. When utilized and accessed, Reno meets the needs of those who need help. Those not accessing these resources do so because they do not want help, they do not want permanent change. These are the types who are homeless by choice. They want spare change and handouts. If we want to help our homeless population and those experiencing temporary poverty, donate and give to the agencies that can and do enable real change. This is our community. This is our city. Mayor Hilary Schieve has said, “Love Reno. If we can unite on anything, it’s Love Reno.” Tough love is a form of love and saying “No”, is a form of self-care. It’s time for change and that time is now.
Amanda Carter is 32 years old and has lived in the Reno/Sparks area for 27 years. Amanda advocates change for people who want it. Responses welcome at: email@example.com
New! HOMELESS COURT FIELD TRIP
Sign up for a QOL-Reno Homeless Court Field Trip! See firsthand the source of much of Reno’s homeless problem (i.e. NO real consequences for illegal behavior if you’re a vagrant, a challenge to the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause).
Contact QOL-Reno to schedule a tour on any Wednesday morning: (775) 685.8200
The QOL-Reno HOMELESS PREMISE & CHALLENGE
PREMISE:The city of Reno – right now – HAS an abundant, available supply of food, employment, housing, and mental health treatment for ANYONE. There is NO need for the City Council to spend one dollar more on “homeless services;” and to do so is a waste of taxpayers’ money and is making the homeless problem WORSE.
CHALLENGE:There is not ONE person living on Reno’s streets whom QOL-Reno cannot get housed and employed within 72 hours, IF the individual is willing to comply with the following:
Be clean and sober
Be willing to work
Be willing to obey the law
Be willing to accept mental health treatment (if needed)
Recent visitors to QOL looking for assistance responded with the following:
“What?! You want me to take a bus to work?” when the individual was offered a $15/hour job and a free bus pass.
After being offered immediate employment and counseling support, the individual responded, “I don’t really want to work. I just want to get on disability for my mental issues.”
ATTENTION ALL PARENTS of SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN:
WCSD schools rank last or near last in the nation
A QOL-Reno WCSD teachers poll confirmed student discipline, strong moral values, and objective teaching to be almost non-existent
School leaders deny the facts about this situation
Why would any parent keep their child enrolled in WCSD?Contact QOL-Reno for a wide variety of education options for your child.
POLICE, CITY WORKERS, AND WCSD TEACHERS:THE COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU TO SPEAK UP!
YOU know the firsthand truth about how our city and schools are being run. The community needs to know about it. Contact QOL-Reno in complete anonymity: (775) 685-8200.
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