For the majority of 2017, I worked for a local non profit called HELP of Southern Nevada, and I must say it was the most eye opening, rewarding experience I could ever ask for. I got to hear so many stories and see so many things that most people don't get to. I learned that most of the homeless individuals on the street do face a mental disability, a financial hardship, or ran into some dark times, but at the same time they just needed that helping hand to get them back on their feet. I spent a lot of time working in the Hope Corridor and the Homeless courtyard (before becoming what it is now) conducting housing assessments and SNAP applications, and I could see the hope on many individuals faces when I said I would do what I could to help. Some I was able to house, and it would make their day when I gave them the news that they were getting a second chance. I would like to see more people get housed, because you cant solve homelessness without homes.
I would also go downtown, up and down Bonanza, Nellis, Washington and encounter people and do what I could to help. After all, these are my neighbors, I live in the area and want to see it safe as it can be. I know there is a stir with homeless in downtown and in The Huntridge area, and I've seen the news, I've heard the concern. As city councilman, I'd like to have regular dialogue between the city and the residents of the Huntridge neighborhood to hear concerns and so they could give regular feedback. Maybe with The Huntridge park we can have more community events and put the park to use, and maybe the city and county can work more with community partners and agencies such as HELP of southern Nevada, Caridad, Lutheran Services, etc and do daily pickups in certain areas, and provide voluntary one way transport to individuals in need to the Hope Corridor and Courtyard where they can get services and help they need. Those resources empower and help individuals get back on their feet. We must treat homeless in a respectful way, as we need to humanize the homeless.
I would also like to empower residents to be able to call a community partner or agency for help when they see a homeless individual that might be in need, or simply have someone check on an encampment. I know more funding is needed to the hope corridor and community partners to help make these ideas happen, and I think I can help find that funding.
Squatters have also become an issue that I'd like to address. I believe that working closer with the citizens and code enforcement can ensure that people are not in places they shouldn't be. Abandoned buildings and homes should be boarded up and secured in ways that prevent entry. This is an issue of safety, and as city councilman i'd like to make sure we all take ownership of our neighborhoods. By knowing your neighbors and talking to them regularly, you will know what to look out for, and report to the proper officials.