Social workers intervene in growing homeless camps across Las Vegas trails

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 10:05 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Clark County officials describe a rise in homeless camps across the Las Vegas Valley, as officials are also tackling growing concerns of homeless encampments on public trails and bridges.

FOX5 told you about the rise of homeless living along the washes in the East Valley, particularly along the Flamingo Arroyo Trail by Desert Inn and Pecos. Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom now said there have been escalating concerns about encampments along the trails and bridges, preventing people from passing.

“We have to keep those bridges, those trails open for everybody else. We’re not going to let people live on the bridges. That’s not acceptable,” Segerblom said at the April 18 commissioners’ meeting, promising more enforcement of the public right of way.

The other part of tackling the homeless crisis is getting people off the streets and offering resources. CARES Teams with social workers go into Clark County neighborhoods and stage interventions.

“We can be alerted to someone living under a bridge. What we do is we do reach out, we do make contact, we start that rapport building. We don’t have the authority to make them move,” said Randy Reinoso of Clark County Social Services.

“It’s difficult to get folks who are living out on the streets into care. Sometimes it can take 10, 12 different interventions,” Reinoso said, noting that those on the streets present various reasons for wanting to remain unhoused: fear of surrendering possessions, mental illness, substance abuse, or fear of losing their pets. Social workers must answer their concerns to convince them to leave an encampment, then can get them into temporary housing and help them get services.

Reinoso said there are more camps across the Valley, particularly in suburban areas.

“What we’ve noticed is the increasing presence of folks who are homeless, people who are on unhoused throughout the valley. There are more encampments,” Reinoso said. “There’s a huge eviction crisis right now, a lot of people who are pending eviction, and then also people always coming from other areas as well,” he said.

Clark County is working to build more temporary housing for the homeless, including at another motel along Boulder Highway.