Resources for mental health, addiction sought in struggle to aid homeless
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) —
For more than a decade, the historic Huntridge Circle Park neighborhood in northeast Las Vegas has dealt with homeless people.
The struggle goes on daily near Maryland Parkway and East Charleston Boulevard.
On a Sunday morning, you will see more people brushing their teeth than kids playing — a place where the city's need to care for its homeless and want for revitalization cross paths.
Any you will find a guy who calls himself Downtown Steve, a man who fights for his neighborhood and for his real estate efforts.
He shows News 3 pictures that show fights and scraps of food and something he called a bike chop shop.
After weeks of petitioning the city, neighbors got the city marshals to clear the park out. They clear the park at the 5 p.m. closing time, but there's a long ways to go, says Steve.
"This is more about lawlessness, and I just want people to be lawful not lawless — regardless of their status — and most of the neighbors are in agreement," he said.
According to the recently completed 2017 homeless census, fewer people are homeless in Southern Nevada this year than last, but more of those homeless are going without any shelter, which means they turn to places like public parks.
Catholic Charities President and CEO Deacon Tom Roberts says to solve that problem, you need resources. He has been working with Clark County and the City of Las Vegas and other entities to boost funding for services to the homeless.
"About half the population that comes in (to the Catholic Charities overnight shelter). If we had more resources we could help them," Roberts said. "This other half that we talk about, mental health and addiction those are resources we don't have. Those people aren't going to get off the wheel of service unless we address the need holistically systemically and completely."
At Huntridge Circle Park, change is happening. A neighborhood is doing what it can, but Downtown Steve acknowledges that solving homeless in his community is a much bigger fight.
"There are many facets of government aware of the problem and we are seeing more policing but we have a ways to go," he says.