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Letter to the editor: Sept. 3, 2022


The recent committee which wrote the homelessness white paper I’m sure are good, earnest people who want to fix this problem. However, they were all homeless advocates first and foremost. They represent the homeless and view all problems from that perspective as well as the solutions to those problems.

It seems the vast majority of solutions take the approach that, foremost, don’t disturb their lifestyle too much. This seems to have been our philosophy over the last 20 years, and I don’t think it has worked.

I’m pretty sure the statistics in your article support me. As the article stated, “and that number continues to grow despite the interventions by government agencies.”

Apparently, giving shelter isn’t the solution, but we should consider giving them even more to solve the problem? Seems contrary to me. I am hoping the comment about each person at the Cares Campus getting $25,000 was a remark about the ineffective application of this money and not a serious proposal.

The homeless are generally non-productive members of society, finding themselves in a situation thrust upon them or one they volunteered for. They suffer from substance and mental issues and therefore cannot or will not care for themselves. Therefore, merely giving them what they need or want will not fix the problem.

I liked the committee’s ideas regarding people being close to homeless and how to keep them out of it, but I think their recommendations like “programs to address the diverse needs” are implemented, they need to separate out the mentally ill and drug addicted. Those must be addressed first and require a different, more controlled approach.

Monica DuPea with the Nevada Youth Empowerment Project speaks about the new homelessness report for Washoe County on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022 at The Holland Project. Image: Bob Conrad / THIS IS RENO.
Monica DuPea with the Nevada Youth Empowerment Project speaks about the new homelessness report for Washoe County on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022 at The Holland Project. Image: Bob Conrad / THIS IS RENO.

One thing they cannot be allowed is freedom to come and go from where they are receiving treatment. It means mandatory detox, drug tests, mental evaluations. It means those who are “sane and sober” MUST do something to keep their housing. Volunteer, grow food for their community, learn a trade. It means government subsidies can no longer be “all or nothing.”

Ms. DuPea stated it correctly, “It’s kind of ridiculous to think someone’s going to go from zero dollars a month to $1,600 a month.” (For housing.)

Why not decrease subsidies by half of what is made by the individuals? If the base is $25,000/year, as it costs now, and they make $8,000 in a year, why not decrease their subsidy by $4,000? The city saves money and the citizenry are motivated to continue working and making more money. Perfect? Nope. I do think this direction is better than where we’re headed now, however.

For those who can’t or won’t become productive members of society, they cannot be allowed to simply wander the streets. The solution for them? I’m not sure outside of jail for those who are violent. I’m all for putting them through the system again. It’s better than prison for all involved and keeps society safer and cleaner.

The fact that only one politician showed up for this white paper’s unveiling shows how unserious they are about solving this issue. Personally, I have lost faith in all politicians. They rarely, if ever, are affected by the decisions they make. “Let’s build a place, put the word ‘cares’ in it, call it a win, and feel good about ourselves. It also makes good ink when I run for my next political office.”

Mark Green

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