play in, is his restroom. When asked when he showers, he said, “Never,”…and looked like he was telling the truth. RHS asked him why he didn’t go use the city’s homeless shelter services, he said, “They don’t help anybody; they just want to stay employed, and it’s a mess.”
When asked why he didn’t check into the Gospel Mission’s program which DOES help people and is NOT “a mess”, the man just started swearing.
The man said he lives on a $771 mental disability check and $17 worth of food stamps. We asked him why he doesn’t go to any of Reno’s 25 food pantries to get more food, and he said he had no interest (note: Food stamps can be – and usually are illegally sold, whereas regular free food from the food pantries has no resale value).
We asked him why he doesn’t rent a room by combining his check with another similar person’s check. Together, they could rent a room for half or less of both checks, and both of them would have enough left over to start saving some money for places of their own. He had Zero interest in this option, because the Police make staying in the park convenient for him.
RHS asked him how the Reno Police treat his law-breaking camping. “They just tell me I can’t camp here, and once in a while give me a ticket.” He said he had to go to court and then jail in mid-October for a recent ticket. When asked how long his jail sentence was, he replied, “The judge gave me two days.” We asked him what happens after he completes his 48 hours in jail, he said, “I’ll just come back here and keep camping.”
Homeless Camp #2:
Another Whitaker Park homeless camper was a woman and her husband. He was not at their tent because,” …he had to go to work today to support us,” she said. “Work”, it turned out, was walking to a nearby street corner to beg for money. Her story had many similarities to her neighbor’s: no willingness to move into a shelter that had rules, no interest in being helped with straightening out her life issues, no interest in working even part time. The way she differed from her neighbor was in her even more vehement feelings about the City’s homeless shelter. “I’d like to get a bomb and blow that f_ _ _ing place up,” she yelled. There’s nothing there but drugs, stealing, violence, and fights. They don’t help you or care about you.”
RHS also checked out the hillside homeless camps across the pedestrian bridge from St. Mary’s Hospital. The 45 degree hillside hasn’t kept half-a-dozen homeless camps from sprouting in this area.
Number of Homeless Camps Spotted: Half-a-dozen.