Here is my opinion on the homelessness in Elko…
We are a city with limited resources, our state does not really fund us well when it comes to human services, but that does not mean we must ignore the issue.
*There are plenty of things our city does do for the homeless including The new camp area that was designated by the city council, the church organizations that helps feed people, and other nonprofits J.O.I.N/ F.I.S.H.
*We do have a small homeless shelter, which is a good start.
*Plenty of good-hearted people who donate money, food, water and even shelter at some points to people who do become homeless.
(Negative Things) –
*Shaming the homeless because it is “their fault”, “they need to find a job”, “they need to go away”, “they need to move away”. Many of them have mental illness and lack employability skills.
*Certain local politicians fighting for anti-homeless laws that will cost our city more $$ in legal battles, when we could use the money here in Elko to solve these issues instead of violating peoples civil liberties.
*I know in Elko everyone tells me to read the constitution, read the bible, and read other scripture to learn more about human integrity. Nowhere in the bible is there a passage to shame, humiliate or criminalize homelessness.
(Other cities do this, which is unconstitutional, and leads to expensive court battles with civil rights organizations) –
*Panhandling: Courts have found begging to be protected speech.
*Sleeping / Camping on public land: Courts have found that arresting homeless people for sleeping outside when no shelter space exists violates their Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
*Sweeps / Searches: A seizure of property violates the Fourth Amendment when a governmental action unreasonably interferes with a person or his/her property.
*Feeding The Homeless: For faith-based or religious groups conducting feedings as an expression of their religious beliefs, courts have found city restrictions on feedings an unconstitutional burden on religious expression.
Yes, the Homeless is a tough issue to deal with, but Elko citizens live by the bible, and by the constitution. We take our own rights for granted and it is time we stand up for the rights of our own. I know that some homeless are moving away from Elko, but since we are the largest city between Reno and Salt Lake City we must remember it is also hard to get out of Elko when you are homeless as well.
Thanks to all those in our community who don’t wanna throw people out of our community just because they are too poor to live here.