With the new Las Vegas homeless ordinance in full swing, the homeless are scattering throughout new areas beyond city limits where they are impervious to fines.
One historic Las Vegas neighborhood is fed up after a homeless camp has taken over a nearby wash. Residents in the Maryland Parkway and Flamingo area have witnessed people that are lighting tires on fire under bridges, having loud, noisy parties, and defecating in surrounding areas.
Two of the residents, Sandy and Beth, join TVT to discuss the situation.
Sandy begins by explaining that a lot of the issues have been cleaned up right now within the immediate neighborhood; however, it is a “revolving door” – homeless leave one area for another, and another, and so forth.
“How are we coordinating with this between the city and the county,” adds Beth. “I want to know if they’re having back and forth talk here, because they’ve got two different municipalities. What they did was they just shoved it down the road to residential areas when. Traditionally we’re accustomed to seeing this more in a downtown typesetting or on busy corners and freeway exits.”
She continues to explain that it has additionally caused problems in the homeless community, in the sense of “their little territories.”
In an attempt to find a solution, Sandy partnered up with her community, putting together a petition of 70 people, which she presented to the police and asked what they can do. “They stepped right up to the plate of a lot of entities got involved,” she says.
She described a situation where one of her neighbors woke up to a homeless individual in their bedroom one night. They speculate he got in through their doggie door and had intended to burglarize their home.
When the homeless transition to residential areas the threat is not just that they are an eyesore, but that people’s safety is at risk.
Beth mentioned that Metro has not been arresting people because it doesn’t seem to be a solution. “I think, in my opinion, that makes everything worse because a $1000 fine for people that can’t afford to live as it is keeps them in a downward spiral.”
“We need to be aware that between the city and county, there’s about a billion dollars being spent on this issue every single year, and that goes into all the different services provided – police effort, housing, etc.,” says Beth. “They’re housing about 3,300 people each year, but on any given day, there’s about 6,500 homeless out on our streets. So you can see, even though it doesn’t look like it on paper, a considerable amount has been done and is being done, but it’s just scratching the surface.”
Brian concludes by commenting that he believes Goodman implemented the ordinance to help businesses, not residents. “Local businesses that maybe have some ties to some of these politicians, maybe financial ties – they were complaining. While it’s helping local businesses downtown, it’s hurting people like Beth and Sandy who just came on this show” says Shapiro.
“It’s not about bringing the Raiders here. It’s not about getting a ballpark at Red Rock or a soccer team. Carolyn Goodman needs to address the homeless issue in a more manageable and intelligent way. This ordinance is not working. This needs to be addressed and something needs to be done.”