Non-profit remembers hundreds of homeless

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - Remembering those who are often forgotten. Monday night, a vigil was held in honor of 409 homeless Nevadans who died from 2017 to 2018.

ACTIONN, a local non-profit organization seeking to cultivate a social justice movement in Northern Nevada, hosted the event not only to recognize the homeless who died, but to grab the attention of lawmakers.

The event started with a candlelight vigil at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Then local faith leaders and impacted residents walked to the Nevada Legislature with candles in hand.

ACTIONN executive director, J.D. Klippenstein says he doesn't want lawmakers, in the midst of a busy legislative session, to forget those who have died because of what he says is a lack of housing resources in our area.

Klippenstein adds as a state, Nevada ranks last in the country in terms of affordable housing available to low-income residents.

"There's only fifteen available units for every 100 for low-income renters. It's the biggest gap in the country. So, when we think about what we are doing about homelessness; we have to be thinking about what are we doing about affordable housing? What are we doing about raising minimum wage? Because right now if you work minimum wage, you have to work 72 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom at fair market rent,” says Klippenstein.

The event was timely as Tuesday is Statewide Advocacy Day at the Nevada Legislature for the homeless and housing.

Klippenstein says bills centered around raising minimum wage and offering a housing tax credit to encourage more development of affordable housing are positive, but it will take a strong commitment and a bold investment from legislators this session to start fixing these problems.