LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — On Wednesday, the Las Vegas City Council approved another ordinance that deals with the homeless. Proposed by Mayor Carolyn Goodman, this one addresses street cleaning.
The ordinance authorizes the Department of Operations and Maintenance to determine hours for sidewalk cleaning. It would make it a misdemeanor for anyone to obstruct cleaning during those hours.
That includes sitting, sleeping or camping on the sidewalks. Supporters say the measure improves public safety, while opponents say it criminalizes people living on the street.
The city stresses the new ordinance aims to help homeless find resource centers. One of those places is “The Courtyard” — near downtown Las Vegas by Catholic Charities and The Salvation Army.
Now, they are upping their efforts to accommodate more people as the demand for services increase.
Quentin Mack recently moved from New York, seeking a better life in Las Vegas. Mack, who is homeless, credits The Courtyard for helping him, including getting a job with the City of Las Vegas.
“You’ve got to want the help, yeah of course, you know what I’m saying,” Mack said. “They gave me an opportunity to work here and make $14 an hour.”
The outdoor facility serves between 250 and 300 people. Visitors can come day or night. Resources from community partners range from medical to employment.
“A safe zone. A place where homeless people can get some respite from life on the street,” said Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher, the Community Services Administrator for the City of Las Vegas. “Our goal is to never turn anyone away.”
Plans to serve even more are underway with a $20 million expansion this year. The renderings below show buildings for services and outside areas, which are desperately needed.
Before the big construction project, the courtyard plans to do a minor expansion by knocking down a cinderblock wall and pushing back storage bins to accommodate more people on the property.
“It’s not driven by the ordinance, we just want everyone to be comfortable,” Bluitt-Fisher said. “We know there’s a need out there.”