Bill Mably, 61, talks so confidently of his future it's difficult to believe he's been homeless for the past 22 years.
"Survival is the whole story," he said Thursday during a citywide count of the homeless.
When he turns 62, Mably will get Social Security checks and the promise of a permanent home to replace the 1978 pickup in which he lives.
"At night, I roll up in blankets and lots of clothes in the back of the truck, get some hot cocoa, and listen to the radio," he said in the warmth of the Friends in Service Helping dining hall. "If it gets too cold, I come down here."
In an attempt to count the number of homeless in Carson City, more than 50 volunteers from community service agencies and the Sheriff's Department participated in Thursday's U.S. Office of Housing and Development's Point-In-Time count. It began at 12:01 a.m. and continued through midnight.
Results of the count will be used by HUD to grant housing funding for homeless programs and projects.
Volunteers counted homeless at shelters, in motels, on the streets at service agencies and in encampments. The homeless were given tickets to go to FISH for an interview and receive a blanket, a meal and a hygiene kit.
The day began with difficulty when the first wave of volunteers met at FISH at 5:30 a.m.
"To be honest, with the fog, it was really hard to find people," said city health assistant Kathy Wolfe. "We checked Dumpsters and talked to a lot of businesses in the area. Someone said they have people who take showers in their bathrooms. Someone else told us they caught someone changing in their Dumpster."
Wolfe had returned by 10:45 a.m. after finding 10 homeless people.
"I'm surprised we didn't find more people," she said. "But I wouldn't be out there."
Twenty-four deputies counted the homeless over three shifts, counting seven people on the graveyard shift. Day and swing-shifts numbers were not in as of press time.
"This time of year it's very difficult to locate (the homeless) where they would be during the summer months," said Lt. Ken Sandage. "This deep snow has pushed them inside."
Sheriff's deputy Dave Bobbitt drove a four-wheel-drive all-terrain vehicle past "no trespassing" signs near Mexican Dam, Silver Saddle Ranch, Lloyds Bridge and Brunswick Canyon. He found two abandoned encampments.
"You get a lot of guys squatting in these flat spots," he said nodding toward an area. "It's just too cold. They're gone into motels."
Around mid-afternoon, sheriff's volunteer Chuck Saulisberry flew his Skyline II low, about 500 to 800 feet, to scan the Ash, Kings, Clear Creek and Carson River canyons for signs of encampments. None were seen.
"In order to bring some uniformity to the data collection to the process of understanding homelessness, we prefer people in the local communities conduct the accounts in the last week of January," said HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan.
"Across the country, the need is greatest in the cold-weather months."
Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
• The Rural Nevada Continuum of Care, which includes agencies in all of Nevada's counties except for Clark and Washoe, will use the Point-In-Time information when applying for HUD homelessness grant funding
• The continuum received $222,000 thousand this fiscal year. Thursday's numbers will be used for next year's funding.
• For the first time this year, HUD asked communities to do street counts. The purpose is to count people in the shelters and people on the streets, who don't come in for services.
• For information, see www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/homeless/library/countinghomeless/index.cfm
Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.
Sign in to comment