It’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.