QOL-Reno reaches out to City Council on Homeless Issue – Results?
QOL-Reno recently reached out to all seven Reno City Council members, requesting individual meetings to discuss the Council’s failing, unaffordable plan to address Reno’s homeless issue. Their plan is simply making the problem worse.
Meetings were held with Council Members Reese, Jardon, Weber, and Delgado with the following results. Council members Brekhus, Dueer, and Mayor Schieve declined to respond to our meeting request.
• Council members are refusing to acknowledge that Reno’s homeless plan is failing. No city using the same plan has successfully addressed the homeless issue. • Council members are refusing to allow RPD to enforce existing Municipal Code laws with Reno’s homeless vagrants. • An RPD officer in attendance at all of the meetings, made it clear that he considers RPD’s primary responsibility to be “fair” to the homeless and to act as social workers. He accused QOL-Reno’s request for strong, fair law enforcement as being prejudiced and unkind toward the illegal, vagrant-by-choice campers and criminals, with seemingly no regard for the negative impact that vagrant crime has on law-abiding citizens, the community, and the environment. QOL-Reno believes that law enforcement agencies’ primary responsibility is to enforce laws, not to adjudicate what is “fair.” • Only one of the four Council members admitted the violent, dysfunctional mess that is the current VOA homeless shelter situation.
Summary: City Council’s positions on homeless issues are very clear:
• Reno’s present problems with homeless camps and crime are NOT an urgent law enforcement issue. • The Council has NO intention of directing RPD to ticket or arrest homeless vagrants who break misdemeanor laws for drugs, stolen property, or illegal camping. • The Council believes that Reno’s problems with homeless crime and illegal camping are the City’s, County’s, and taxpayers’ fault for not giving enough free housing to vagrants, including those refusing services and sobriety. • The Council and County will continue to annually spend millions of taxpayer dollars to support their homeless plan that is clearly failing.
QOL-Reno has offered the Council for the past 2 years, a homeless plan, proven to get homeless off the streets. Funding a homeless shelter and supportive services with a 5-cents per day property tax, would allow the County/City to enforce rules in shelters regarding drug/alcohol use, employment, and lawful behavior. It would provide complete independence from federal dictates that allow drug and alcohol use in shelters and long-term housing.
Removing Homeless Camps:
City’s Contractor provides Hazmat protective gear to HIS employees. Why isn’t City Council providing it to RPD and City workers?
As the railroad track vagrant camp was being removed last week, there was a dangerous inconsistency. Private workers for the city’s independent contractor were supplied with Hazmat protective gear by their employer, while RPD officers and City Maintenance employees, working right alongside the contractor’s workers, had NO Hazmat protective gear. This dangerous situation, which creates significant fiscal liability for the City, has remained consistent through numerous vagrant camps clean-ups.
What are people talking to QOL-Reno about?
Sex trafficking of our high school students
(Former WCSD employee)
“When I worked for the school district (WCSD), I reported to Superintendent Davis and Assistant Superintendent McNeill that sex-trafficking was going on with many of our high school students, and the students involved were just being marked as “truant.” The two WCSD administrators told me they were very interested in hearing more about the issue and doing something about it, so I called and e-mailed them repeatedly to schedule meetings. They were never available, and they never responded to my emails about it. The situation continued and has gotten worse. The administration’s refusal to address child-endangerment situations like this led to my stress-related health problems and early retirement.”
Possible spread of the corona virus via unsanitary homeless camps
(Reported by a community resident)
“I’m concerned about the corona virus health risk posed to our entire community by allowing illegal homeless camps and their dangerous, unsanitary conditions, so I contacted 3 local agencies (Washoe County Health Department, Reno Police, and the Washoe County Commissioners and asked them about their plans.”
The Washoe County Health Department’s response? “We’re sending a mobile unit to homeless camps to tell its residents to wash their hands and where to go if they are sick.”
RPD’s response? “Not our jurisdiction.”
County Commissioners’ response? “There is nothing on our upcoming agenda addressing the issue of the corona virus and homeless camps.”
WalMart at 2nd St. has reduced store hours due to unstoppable theft by homeless vagrants
(2nd Street WalMart employee)
“Every WalMart in Reno is open 24 hours except our store. We close at midnight because we’re right by the Truckee River homeless camps. When we were open 24-hours, it was dangerous to our in-store employees after midnight, and we couldn’t stop the vagrants’ constant stealing of major items.”
What are the homeless supposed to do when their illegal encampment is removed? Where are they supposed to go?
As RPD has increased its removal of illegal homeless vagrant camps, some required by Washoe County Health Department citations, these questions have been surfacing. Typical media coverage shows a pathetic looking person on the street, pushing their belongings in a stolen shopping cart and saying something like, “The City is kicking me out of my home. Where am I supposed to go? What am I supposed to do?” QOL-Reno offers the following responses to these questions.
1) Leaving “their homes”
The sites where encampments have been cleared are not, and never were “their” homes. The properties are either privately or publicly owned, and the squatters were illegally trespassing, leaving behind sewage, toxic waste, and garbage that costs property owners or taxpayers thousands of dollars to clean up. Numerous legitimate “homes” are available for anyone living on the street including sober living homes, treatment centers, Eddy House, Salvation Army, and the Gospel Mission, as well as affordable rental units, especially when rented with a roommate, to name just a few.
2) “I don’t have any way to make calls.”
Free “Obama Phones” are available to those individuals who haven’t already lost or sold the free phones. Phones can also be used daily at the Tom Vetica Center located at the Community Assistance Center downtown off Record St.
3) “I don’t have anywhere to receive mail.”
The street address for the Tom Ventica Center at the VOA shelter may be used to receive mail.
4) “I have no ID, birth certificate, or Social Security Card.”
Catholic Charities, Stronghold Institute, and many other organizations will help individuals obtain basic documents.
5) “I’m a veteran, disabled, and homeless.”
There are a number of resources for our veterans. If you’re a veteran, you can get your papers at the Veteran’s Administration. Health care can be received with Health Care for Homeless Veterans as well as the VA Medical Center; dental care for veterans can be accessed at the Department of Veterans Affairs Dental Clinic. Northern Nevada Veterans Resource Center is a great place to get connected to housing, mental health, and substance abuse treatment facilities.
6) I’m 19, homeless, addicted to drugs, and do not have a safe place.”
Eddy House is available for youth up to age 24. There is a drop-in sleep center for those who want to continue using substances or breaking the law. For those who want to participate in the residential program: sobriety is mandated, clients will participate in community service, gain legal employment, and engage in activities that will enhance their quality of life (GED, trade school, college). NYEP is a program for young women 18-24 of age who are transitioning out of the foster system or are parentless and need added support. Sobriety and willingness to engage in a healthy, legal lifestyle is a requirement for participation. Housing is available.
7) “I have a pet and do not want to relinquish custody.”
Unfortunately, there are not many programs available at this time for fostering pets. Washoe County Animal Control will watch pets temporarily for 7 days and in some cases, a little longer. Pets will be put up for adoption if the owner cannot pick up the pet within the allotted time frame. In many cases, pets receive immunizations and possibly spaying/neutering before being adopted out to very good homes. Placing pets into foster care gives former owners the space to recover and live and lead healthier lifestyles.
8) “I am a mom or dad with young children.”
Call Washoe County Human Services Agency and open up a case against yourself. If you’re a fit parent, you’ll be able to keep custody of your kids. If you have serious issues, relinquishing custody until you ARE a fit parent is the bravest and most selfless act you can do to show your children you love them. HSA will refer you to the Family Shelter and when a unit opens up, you’ll be able to stay in the family shelter. If relinquishing custody is part of the recovery plan, the Step 2 Program (women only) is a great place to recover and reunify with children. Men engage in Family Treatment court. This is a great, guided program to reunify with kids. In order to have safe shelter, Crossroads and Life Changes are great programs which, when worked with Family Treatment Court or on your own, will provide a safe place to recover. Sobriety and honest living are a requirement for participation.
9) “I have a substance abuse or co-occurring disorder.”
Acknowledging there is a problem is the first step to recovery. There are dozens of 12-Step meetings starting at 6 a.m. daily and available until midnight. The process to get into sober living and or treatment can take a few weeks. During this time, it’s important to remain in contact with the facility. Call daily or every other day at a minimum to see if your bed has become available. The Community Triage Center is a great place to detox and engage in a treatment plan aimed at long-term sobriety and recovery. Housing is available if you choose to be sober and engage in activities to enhance your quality of life.
10) “I am blind; receive disability; I do not do drugs; the cost of living is just too high.”
Reno Housing Authority has different programs that may be suitable for these individuals. There are also low-income housing options available for people with disabilities. Vocational Rehab has programs teaching employment skills to disabled people.
11) “I have a criminal history. My credit is horrible.”
These two are by far the most time-consuming issues that make renting an apartment difficult. It’s best to just start working on your credit issues bit by bit. Write letters of intent to pay and make minimum payments in order to reduce the balances owed on debts. Get connected with Washoe Legal Services to see what it would take to get your record sealed. Apply for HUD housing and get on the list anywhere you can for housing. Golden Apartments accept applicants for wait lists. Consistently check the housing list and apply. If your application is kicked back, appeal it, and describe all the awesome changes that you are making in your life such as committing to sobriety. Work with a sober living home or rehabilitation center that offers transitional living as an extended part of their program. Rehabs, sober living, and transitional living establishments are safe places to recover and re-stabilize while working on your credit and putting some distance between a person and their criminal and financial history.
12) “I am a senior citizen on Social Security. Rent is too high. Where do I go?”
Apply for housing with the Reno Housing Authority. There is a Senior Center on 9th Street where people can eat and find community. Knowing you’re not alone empowers people to thrive and keep moving forward. There are several senior living establishments being built and offering services. Although being a senior citizen has its disadvantages, being one also puts people at the top of many waiting lists.
Sign up for a QOL-Reno Community Court (Homeless Court) Field Trip! See first hand the source of much of our homeless problem.
Is this court a violation of the 14th and/or 8th Amendments? You decide.
Contact QOL-Reno to schedule a tour on any Wednesday morning, or call for details on how to attend yourself: (775) 685.8200
The QOL-Reno Homeless Premise and 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 wasting taxpayers’ money and 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)
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 nonexistent • 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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