Reno approves hiring private company to cleanup around Truckee River

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- The City of Reno has approved hiring a company to clean up areas around the Truckee River.

The plan was discussed at the December 4, 2019 council meeting. In a 7-0 vote the council voted to hire Coit Services under a pilot program to go in and remove all the trash, debris, waste and personal property. It also wants to make a part-time position full time. The total cost is expected to be more than $250,000.

The city claims in its staff report that the problem has gotten worse. In 2003, the staff report claims there were less than a dozen campsites per week near the river. Now, they claims they see more than 30 tents at a single site and more trash.

The city claims this has been an existing emergency affecting public health and they have received letters of violations from the Health District.

Council Member Oscar Delgado says this is by no means a fix to the homeless problem.

"Not a quick fix and there is not a jurisdiction that can do it and we are definitely in understanding that not all government can do it,” said Delgado. “That is why we have a lot of nonprofit groups in town that are part of the conversation as well."

Council Member Delgado says they are looking at other cities to see what has worked for them when it comes to the homeless issue.

But one nonprofit disagrees with the proposed plan. The Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality (RISE) board member says they were blindsided by the proposal.

Jay Kolbet-Clausell with RISE says they support cleaning up the area, but not using these funds to do it.

RISE has teamed up with other agencies to help with the homeless shelter and homeless issues and Kolbet-Clausell says they were never consulted on this proposed plan.

“It's very devastating and it's expensive and it's going to push people into more visible areas that there are going to be more people in the streets and more people in the construction sites," said Kolbet-Clausell.

He says the more than $250,000 can instead be spent on work programs, hiring peer support for the homeless and increasing current services.

For more information on the meeting, click here.

To see RISE’s statement, click here.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019