Police urge people to aid homeless via charities - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Police urge people to aid homeless via charities

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Trash, blankets and other discarded items in the area of Main Street and Foremaster Lane in Las Vegas. (FOX5) Trash, blankets and other discarded items in the area of Main Street and Foremaster Lane in Las Vegas. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

With the holidays and accompanying cold weather upon us, many feel compelled to give food and other items to the homeless.

While Metro police appreciate the sentiment, they said it's actually creating a big problem.

Police say that while people's hearts are in the right place, the donations are ending up as liter, clogging homeless corridors such as the area near Main Street and Foremaster Avenue.

John Fogal, director of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, said many people hand bags full of supplies to those in need.

"They might go through and find one or two things they can carry around and throw the rest away," he said.

Those items are frequently discarded in the streets. Metro police and other city and county employees have to collect and throw them away.

"This whole sidewalk, you couldn't see the cement. It was covered in garbage, blankets, stuff that can't be reused," said Metro Officer John Chutt.

Fogal said the best option is to make donations directly to shelters and charities such as his.

"We would use all of it. All of it would go to somebody in need," he said.

Police further said some parents will bring their children to the streets to hand donations out to the homeless, something that can be dangerous.

There are between 9,000 and 14,000 homeless people in the Las Vegas Valley. The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Goodwill and the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth are just some of the charities which accept donations to aid them.

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