Brekhus: Homeless camps shouldn't impact residents' quality of life

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) The homeless crisis is continuing to spread and worsen in communities across the nation. In the City of Reno, firefighters are taking a large brunt of dealing with homeless encampments starting fires.

"It's a big problem, it's a growing concern we have," Battalion Chief, Mike Pilcher, of the Reno Fire Department, says.

Reno City Councilwoman, Jenny Brekhus, says the issue is nothing new but it's getting worse. Temperatures are dropping at night and more homeless people are using fires to keep warm but that poses a huge danger to the entire community.

"The homeless people they don't have a place to be but they don't need to be in places that are causing our neighbors to have a reduction in their quality of life, their sense of safety and feeling," Brekhus says.

She encourages all residents to reach out and call Reno Direct at 775-334-4638 if they need help with a homeless camp.

"Ward 1 residents when they reach out to me about a camp I respond and I work with our city manager to get the appropriate response of removing camps," she says.

Brekhus says city resources are stretched thin and the city cannot fix the problem alone.

"The solution is not there," she says. "Camp by camp can be moved but overall getting people into housing, getting people the mental health services they need, that's not there. The state hasn't provided the resources, the federal government hasn't provided the resources and the city of Reno does not have the resources to be able to deal with it and that's why it's a national crisis and it's growing all over the country."

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