While most of us would think the opportunity to have a warm bed was a good thing, because men and women are typical housed separately, for many couples living at Reno’s “Tent City” this was a sad day. Beds are now available at the city's overflow shelter for men, so they’ve been asked to leave the area. The women's shelter is located inside the Community Assistance Center. It isn’t open yet, so females will be allowed to keep their tents on Record Street until they can go inside.
For many of these couples, who have nothing but their relationship, separation is not an option. "I'm gon'na stay here in the street so I can be with her,” says Tent City resident Michael Moore. “I can't go to the overflow and be away from her." City officials say the closing the encampment is not aimed at separating couples, but it’s the best way to make sure every individual has a warm and secure place to sleep. Jodi Royal-Goodwin says this is not a decision Reno made lightly. She says it’s a single step in a long term goal of creating sustainable transitional assistance.
As for the women staying in the area, many have voiced concerns that they don't feel safe without men around to protect them at night. In an effort to help coordinators have reorganized the remaining tents, moving them closer to the new Community Assistance Center. In addition, security patrols will remain in the area during the evening hours. The homeless encampment will cease to exist after the nearby women’s shelter opens, which is expected to happen on or before October 15th.