[Hpn] Death of homeless man prompts protests at Reno drop in center

William Charles Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Thu, 30 Mar 2006 13:29:08 -0500



Death of homeless man prompts protests at Reno drop in center

March 30, 2006

Dozens of Reno's homeless are protesting the men's drop in shelter. They say
the shelter has not done anything to help them, and the city's homeless are
being left out in the cold.

The two homeless men who led the protest Wednesday afternoon say a homeless
man died overnight Tuesday because the shelter did not let him in. They say
the shelter had 21 open beds Tuesday night and they too were forced to spend
the night on the streets.

"It was snowing, it was raining, below 32. Unfortunately they had another
dead body, within a month. I believe the man died for exposure. He should
have been let in."

But officials at the men's shelter say the 79-year-old man who died has
never asked for their help. They say the men who are protesting are abusing
the shelter because they've used up their 30 day stay.

Jerry Savala, Assistant Manager, Men's Drop-In Shelter, "These are the men
that are laying around all day. We encourage them to look for work. You have
30 days, we go beyond to help."

Officials say the shelter's 180 beds have been filled every night since the
shelter opened last October.
One day stay extensions are given on nights below freezing, but with Reno's
nearly 5,000 homeless, the center knows it is far outnumbered.

Savala, "If I had it my way, I'd fill the place, it's important there's a
lot of homeless out there, but we're doing all we can to help."

More than half of Reno's homeless population are men, but hundreds of women
and children are also homeless, until an emergency women's shelter opens
next spring.

They have no other place but the streets to call home. There are other day
programs to help homeless women get back on their feet like the Salvation
Army and the United Way.

The women's shelter will open on Record Street with 40 beds, but many of the
women I spoke with say they can't wait until spring for a place to stay.

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