Demand rises for Carson City homeless shelter program
Carson City’s winter shelter program for the city’s homeless population saw a jump in demand this year.
Night Off the Streets, operated by volunteers in half a dozen local churches, saw a 27.66 percent increase in the population it served this year, according to Deacon Craig La Gier, chaplain, Carson City’s Sheriff’s Office.
The program operated for 22 weeks, from November through March, and this year provided a total of 4,283 beds occupied by 3,230 males and 1,059 females. Among those males were two minors who spent 33 nights in the NOTS program. On average, the program helped seven females and 28 males each night.
La Gier said five of the male guests and two of the female guests were able to find full-time work and four of the guests began drug and alcohol rehab and continue to remain sober through 12-step programs.
“What we have been doing is applying a Band-Aid, which is needed, however, in my opinion, we need to have a more comprehensive collaboration with our many sources in Carson City,” said La Gier. “Carson City is a great town, but I believe it can be even greater.”
The homeless population is facing a new challenge with the coronavirus crisis. The public buildings open during the day, such as the library, are now closed.
La Gier encouraged the city to install portable toilets to address the biggest problem the lack of public bathroom facilities is causing.
The city recently installed portable toilets in Mills Park and two closer to downtown.