Help is available for our homeless, but many who hang on out here on the fringes of our community don't know how to access it and the offices that offer services are spread throughout the community. For someone living on the edge with no transportation and little resources, that's a big problem. In fact, those who work with the homeless say it's a major obstacle to getting them back on their feet.
That's what makes an event like Tuesday’s stand down important. For one day at least, the homeless could walk in out of the cold, get some new clothing, a haircut, a flu shot and find the help that might help get them off the street.
The overall sponsor of the event was the Veterans Administration and many, but not all, of those who came to the stand down were veterans. Those who work with the homeless say on any given night at least 250 former servicemen and women are living on the streets of Reno.
The Veterans Administration and, of course, local government is behind a lot of the services available to the homeless, but private donations play a big role.
The Vietnam Vets were handing out 400 brand new parkas today. Those jackets were a donation, and this is interesting, from Joe Francis, the video entrepreneur of "Girls Gone Wild" fame. Francis has been in the Washoe County Jail for most of a year now fighting extradition to Florida. When we called his attorney to confirm what we heard today, he says Francis sees a lot of the homeless come to jail just to get in out of the cold. He has the resources to help out, made a call from jail to his company and made it happen.
They are putting up a new building at the homeless shelter on Record Street. The hope is shortly, they'll have a centralized office that can offer much of what we saw today on a 24 hour 7 day a week basis.