Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dear Las Vegas Superbum

Dear Las Vegas Superbum,

I am posting this note to you on my blog in hope that it might make some positive difference in our struggle.

Saw the article in City Life and also saw your letter. And right now,
I am in the middle of reading your blog. Tears come to my eyes to see you posting like it is. There are not too many who have the guts to speak out in this city. I'm talking about you. Bravo! And you and your friends will always be in my prayers that you may stay safe.

I have been banging my head up against the wall wondering what
I should be doing. I feel that I am not doing enough. I know that food and hydration is most important to stay alive. And I am so anxious about the cold weather being here, and wondering where the heck I'm going to get blankets and coats.

Dream Center will be giving out blankets and coats and Thanksgiving Dinner on November 18th at 1:00 pm. And then there is the Stand Down coming to Cashman Field on November 8th. But we need these things NOW !

Mostly I have been working with folks one on one. Trying to send them in the right direction to Social Services, etc. to obtain whatever they can- like rent vouchers. Then the hard part is finding a landlord who takes them.

For some folks who have absolutely no paperwork, it is pretty much impossible to get identification. No identification means no shelter, no job, no public assistance.

About a week ago, I went over to St. Vincent's with a homeless friend who was ready to take the plunge. However, he could not get in because he did not have a state issued photo identification.

I am also very upset that the DMV will not honor jail release papers as a way to obtain a Nevada State Photo ID. Many homeless are arrested at one time or another for all sorts of non-violent offenses. They are finger-printed and when released they are given a release form with their picture on it. So, why can't this document be used for identification?

Yesterday I was reading an old newspaper article about a protest on the Strip in 2001. I'm trying to find it but can't at the moment. But basically what it said was Brother David was part of a protest that was asking the MGM to finance a winter shelter. I'm going by memory here so I may get some of the facts wrong. But anyway, hopefully you'll get the gist of the article. MGM was saying that the cost of the shelter (or tent city or whatever) was too expensive for them to finance. The cost was something like $50,000 per month.

Call me naive, but don't you think we can put together something for less than that? ANY kind of shelter from the cold winter or from the summer sun would be better than NO shelter at all.

Okay, so after doing more reading today, I am reminded that this struggle in Las Vegas (the war on the homeless) has been going on for years. With all the efforts of homeless advocates, has anything gotten better? This is a serious question and I invite you (beg you) to reply. What has worked? And what has not worked?

I was interviewed the other day by Teresa Yuan from FOX 5 Local News. She asked me, "If you could, what would you tell the neighbors?"

I told her that this is not just a city issue. This is a city, county, and state issue. If neighbors don't want a bunch of homeless and poor people hanging out in city parks (even though they have a RIGHT to be there) then they should be calling the city, county, and state demanding more resources for the poor.

Speaking about the city only here:

"The City Council unanimously decided to sell Cox Communications 7.69 acres of land for use as a parking lot for $1.

Officials called it an economic incentive to retain jobs and have the company's regional headquarters in West Las Vegas."

If the City Council can UNANIMOUSLY decide on selling SEVEN plus acres to a corporation for ONE DOLLAR for parking as an economic incentive then don't you think that the City of Las Vegas can RENT us some buildings and property for say Five Dollars a year for safe, affordable permanent housing for the homeless? Aside from being moral and humane, this would also be an economic plus for our community!

Well, have to end this rant here. I don't have anymore time today to post. So, to all of the advocates who have done this for years, and to the newcomers, and to the community which includes the homeless and poor, please post or e-mail me your ideas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you very much for your kind comments. it gives an old bum hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

Yes you are correct you can run an emergency shelter for less then $50,000 a month. The figure quoted is in line with traditional shelter mentality that demands the provider do everything for the client as if we are crippled dogs.
If we apply a you have to do it yourself philosophy and involve thsoe using the service provided to help administer it the cost I believe drops by at least 50% if not more.

The city's give away is crap. Ask how many West Las Vegas resident are working there right now.
You are on point when you speak of the possibility that they can provide buildings or at least land to help combat the scourage on Homelessness.