Pahrump evicts homeless RV dwellers after years of occupancy

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    Pahrump evicts homeless RV dwellers after years of occupancyIt’s eviction day for about ten homeless RV dwellers in and around Pahrump, Nevada, as they prepare to move once again to wherever they can find to stay.

    Mary Supple, a glass of Steel Reserve malt liquor clutched in a hand tanned from years of desert living, flung open the door of her battered recreational vehicle and prepared to be uprooted, reports the Las Vegas Review Journal.


    Wednesday was moving day, the deadline set two weeks earlier by the owner for her and about nine other homeless people to leave the private property they had temporarily been allowed to occupy. They moved there after they and approximately 30 to 50 others were rousted from a ramshackle encampment known as “the Hill,” where they had lived for years.

    Supple, 59, and her inoperable RV were bound for another vacant piece of land not even a mile away, courtesy of a local towing company that volunteered its services when word got out that the camp residents had been ordered out.

    The eviction has forced local officials to address the growing population of homeless living in and around Pahrump despite a near absence of resources.

    “It’s put us between a rock and a hard place,” acknowledges Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Winchman, who said the commission is relying on the community to put forth proposals.

    “If they’re looking for a partner in the efforts they put forward, there may be something we can do,” she said. “But there are so many questions about cost, … providing shelter and land. We may not have enough taxpayers in the county to foot the bill for something like that.”

    Among the members of the public already addressing the issue is Nancy Brown, a pastor at Covenant Lighthouse Church’s You Matter Ministries, which has been providing the encampment with food, water, clothes and transportation for years.

    Brown said the fact that authorities are acting after years of looking the other way is encouraging, adding that she will bring up the issue again at the next commission meeting in Pahrump on Oct. 16.

    “It’s pushed the community to become proactive, to look at the situation,” said Brown, who plans to propose creation of a community of tiny homes and other possible solutions. “It’s no longer something that’s hidden or being swept under the carpet.”

    Supple had lived on the Hill, a vacant stretch of 160 acres on East Basin Road east of the Pahrump Nugget, for nearly a decade before Nye County code compliance officials contacted the owner, Basin Panorama Investors of Las Vegas.

    Officials advised the firm that the encampment was considered a public nuisance and that there were “at least eight pending violations” over living conditions, said Arnold Knightly, Nye County public information officer.

    Sheriff’s deputies arrived on Sept. 12 and informed residents they had 15 minutes to collect their things and get out. Those who didn’t would face arrest, they said.

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    Old guy on east coast

    After a series of unplanned and untimely events happened to us, my wife and I have been technically homeless for nearly three years. We live in a sleezy motel that is the only thing we can afford and it is ghastly. The owners/managers are greedy and do not fix anything including mice, roaches, mold and insufficient heating and cooling. The city council where we live is in their pockets so there is no law enforcement to back us up and moving has not been an option to date. Having said that to set the stage, I would like to respond to Bonnie’s very sensitive letter above. I live in Maryland where the homeless problem is as serious as anywhere even during the very cold, snowy winter months. I go to DC for work every week and it is the same there although not quite as obvious in the business neighborhoods. As one who has been on both sides of the issue I can say without reservation, there is no answer. You will always have those who are victims (I hate using that word) of circumstance and those who are the cause of their circumstances. LIFE IS CHOICES. While I suspect no-one looks ahead 25 or so years and says “I choose to be homeless when I’m 60”, many do say, “I’ll have just one more drink”,. or “I don’t see how buying one more lottery ticket could hurt”, or “I’ll stop taking this drug tomorrow”. Day by day choices add up to lifetime choices. There are endless opportunities here in my town and the joke among the homeless is, “it is impossible to starve here in (my town)”. There are to date seven places to get free food (including hot meals and take home lunches), a place that provides showers and meals three days a week, a day center that provides income based housing for those who qualify (free in most cases), and dozens of affordable housing resource centers that provide the names of apartments that are also income based. Bonnie states “the cities should support solving the problem.” The cities, the government, the county – none of these entities have a job. Their job is to take my money and yours (in the form of taxes and fees) and redistribute it to the needy. If you want to give freely of your time and money to the homeless, I encourage you to volunteer your time and resources to a group already involved in that. Or better yet, start one where you make the rules and can dictate how it will be done. You will find that neither compassion nor empathy is free and can sometimes be quite costly.

    Bonnie J Bowers

    I truly believe homelessness is a huge problem in the United States. Pahrump is one tiny speck of the problem. I have helped the homeless, my sister has in Texas, my son in Phoenix, AZ. I believe that creating a vagabond problem isn’t helping. Communities need to be set up for the homeless by either using empty malls or empty office buildings not being used with facilities already installed or unused hotels and using the tiny house idea, storage sheds (these days are very appealing at very reasonable prices). The homelessness is a problem that needs an answer and kicking them out and off the land just to be replanted isn’t the answer. The cities should support solving the problem, the state should also comply to support solving the problem. These are people, veterans, people that use to have decent jobs ….. I know 2 that were electricians and lost their jobs during the recession, whole families are on the street here in Las Vegas and in Phoenix…..kids going to school while living on the street….they AREN’T all drug addicts and drunks like people immediately assume. They won’t give starving homeless money on the street corners because people have judged them as “winos” or a “druggie” . It’s not for us to judge what they will do with the money…. don’t be a part of the problem. Help …..if you can. Compassion is free…..empathy is free…. you can be part of the solution.

    Booneyrat

    We spent one winter in Pahrump…never again.