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Homeless in Limbo After Complaints Shut Down Feeding Site on Fourth Street


Screen Shot of We Care Volunteers Youtube Video
Screen Shot of We Care Volunteers Youtube Video

Up to 200 of Reno’s homeless are in limbo after complaints shut down a feeding site at the Morris Burner Hotel on Fourth Street.

“Unfortunately the existing location and the late timing of the feeding, 7:30 to 9 p.m., (led to) very bad behavior,” said Reno Code Enforcement Manager Alex Woodley. “We had two different occasions of stabbings, (and) prior to that we had a sexual assault.

“The Police Department has recommended earlier hours as the people tend to congregate for several hours, and by the time of feeding, there were several people inebriated or under the influence.

“We informed Morris (Burner) Hotel to mitigate the public nuisance activities. The options are to either change the time, take the activity inside or find another location,” he added.

Amber Dobson, who has been volunteering to feed to homeless in the area for more than five years with We Care Volunteers, said the complaints should not be attributed to her group’s efforts.

“There’s only one incident attributed to the Morrison Burner address,” she said. “(The complaints are) at times of day when we’re not even there.

“At least 16 incidents were from in and around that area when we’re not even there.”

Dobson has been serving food to the homeless at Morris Burner Hotel Monday through Thursday from 7:30 to 8:30 or 9 p.m. since November 2014.

Before that, she was at the Community Assistance Center.

“We were told November 1 that all food providers need to be out of the Community Assistance Center parking lot by 6 p.m.,” she said. “The Morris Burner Hotel was generous enough to allow us to feed out of there since November.”

But on May 15, 2016, she said that the Hotel was served with cease and desist letter.

“Code Enforcement is saying it’s the Morris Burner Hotel’s responsibility within 100-feet of their building,” Dobson said. “We don’t have a new location. We are in limbo.”

Woodley said that a proposed new location, further east on Fourth Street, would be suitable.

“(The) new site would be acceptable as it would provide for much less impact on the surrounding business and much less people in the area,” he said.

Dobson said that the Reno City Council may be looking at the issue at its meeting Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 10 a.m.

“I have no beef with the City; if anything we’ve had wonderful relationships with volunteers and (partners in the area),” she said.


Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.