Rules Imposed On Reno Homeless Camp

RENO, Nev. (AP) – Nearly 100 homeless people who live in a “tent city” in downtown Reno now must register with the city and prove they are looking for housing and services, city officials said.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules will lose the right to stay at the encampment, city spokesman Kevin Knutson said.
The city devised the rules in an effort to connect individuals with services, he said. Campers must re-register every seven days,
and stays will be limited to 30 days.
“What we’re trying to do is show that this is a temporary situation and give them a sense of urgency to accept our help and work with the service providers,” Knutson told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Officials blame overflow conditions at local shelters and a tight economy for the camp’s emergence in recent months. The camp has been allowed by the city because of its proximity to food services and a men’s shelter for the homeless.
Rick Redding, executive director of the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission, said he’s happy to see ground rules for the camp.
“Holding them accountable is a great thing,” Redding said. “To give some structure and organization to this is an excellent move by the city.”
The city issued other rules for the encampment, including a quiet time from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., a ban on drugs and alcohol, and a limit of two people per site.
Sandy Isham of Catholic Community Services said the homeless typically are safer in large groups.
“Homeless people, when they’re alone, they’re much more susceptible to violence,” Isham told the Gazette-Journal.
Dovan and Jennie Oswalt said they have befriended other campers
in an effort to help secure protection.
“It’s a bunch of homeless people looking out for each other with work being as scarce as it is,” Dovan Oswalt said.
“I feel safer over here,” Jennie Oswalt said.
The Reno Area Alliance for the Homeless estimates 3,000 people are living in a temporary situation around Reno, including in a motel, a shelter or on the street.
Local officials plan to build two new permanent shelters.