[Hpn] No Ticket 2 Ride:Utah officials rebut Goodman::Homeless R not being bused 2 LV
Morgan W. Brown
Fri, 26 Oct 2001 13:25:58 -0400
Friday, October 26, 2001
Las Vegas Review-Journal <http://www.lvrj.com>
[Las Vegas, Nevada]
NO TICKET TO RIDE: Utah officials rebut Goodman
Homeless are not being bused to LV ahead of Olympics, Salt Lake City police
By JULIET V. CASEY
Utah state and Salt Lake City officials on Thursday denied allegations by
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman that 1,000 homeless people are being bused
across state lines to Las Vegas in anticipation of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
During Wednesday's meeting of the Homeless Task Force -- a committee of the
Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition -- Goodman said law enforcement
authorities told him homeless people within the past six weeks were given
Greyhound Bus Lines tickets to Las Vegas from Utah. He did not reveal the
Salt Lake City Assistant Chief of Police Bill Shelton said Thursday there
was no truth to the comment.
"These kinds of rumors have floated around for years, only the last time I
heard them, they went the other way around," Shelton said, adding that Salt
Lake City police have never provided bus tickets for the homeless to travel
to Las Vegas.
"The truth is no one has the money to spend on bus passes," he said.
Shortly after presiding over the opening of the City Centre Place building
at Fourth Street and Lewis Avenue Thursday, Goodman said he had not
confirmed the report that 1,000 homeless were being bused to Las Vegas.
"I told the source to go out and to verify it -- to go to Greyhound and find
out who's buying tickets from Salt Lake (City) to Las Vegas and who paid for
the tickets and how many," he said.
Goodman later said through a city spokesman that he did not want to
speculate about what action he might take if the information is confirmed.
Metropolitan Police Department officers are not reviewing Greyhound records,
nor would they because there is no criminal act to investigate, police
spokesman Chris Darcy said Thursday.
But officials from MASH Village, a shelter that primarily serves women and
children, are reviewing client intake records to verify whether the number
of homeless people claiming to be from Salt Lake City has increased in
"We've heard the rumors for about six months and officials have asked us to
go through our files to see if anything can be confirmed," said MASH Village
spokeswoman Hannah Johnston. She said the request came to the shelter from
Las Vegas police.
Following Wednesday's meeting, Goodman said he "would not tolerate another
city shipping its homeless problems to Las Vegas."
The Las Vegas Valley has been plagued by a shortage of shelter beds that has
left thousands of homeless people on the streets and sidewalks, where they
pitch makeshift tents and roll out cardboard mats to sleep on -- often
inches from traffic.
Josh Ewing, a spokesman for Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, said busing
the homeless out of their city is "absolutely and totally against our
"These rumors and allegations fly around often," he said. "We realize our
two cities are connected by (Interstate 15). ... A majority of people in our
homeless shelters come here by way of Las Vegas, but that's not to say Las
Vegas is dumping on us."
Ewing said Salt Lake City intends to set up additional temporary and
overflow shelters for the Olympic season. He said the city anticipates the
Olympics will bring an influx of homeless people who see the event as a
chance to make money. The area's homeless population also is expected to
increase if landlords, as in other Olympic host cities, boot out low-income
tenants in favor of visitors willing to pay a higher rent to be close to the
"In Atlanta (during the 1996 Summer Olympics) they shipped a bunch of
homeless out of the city," Ewing said. "That's not the legacy we want to
Michelle Lea of the state's Community and Economic Development Department
called Goodman's allegation ridiculous, adding that the state is making
special accommodations to provide more transitional housing units for people
at risk of becoming homeless.
Matt Minkevitch, executive director of Utah's largest homeless provider,
Road Home, said the agency's main focus is placing homeless people into
permanent housing. But the agency also provides emergency travel assistance.
In the past three months, Minkevitch said Road Home has provided travel
assistance for 66 people, none of which identified Las Vegas as their
destination. He also said a recent survey of the shelter's clients shows
just over 16 percent come from Nevada, 40 percent are from Utah and 10
percent from California.
"Based on that, I wouldn't conclude that Nevada is sending their homeless
our way," he said.
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Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
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