We met David Alexander roaming the floor at this year's Project Homeless Connect. He calls himself the veteran on the river. That's where he lives. "On the river. And this is what I have...this is what I own." Just 3 bags, including 2 blankets he got from Catholic Charities, one of the agencies that set up a booth at the Reno Events Center Tuesday. David got what he needed to get by...for a while. "I'll go out and pick up some cans if I have to so I can get my clothes cleaned up, and go keep looking."
Project Homeless Connect is informally called "one-stop shopping for the homeless." Inside, 67 agencies and businesses spent the day helping the needy out with food, housing…and even haircuts. That's where we met Sara Moore, cutting hair for no charge along with her fellow stylists from Cost Cutters. As she gave someone a new look, she told us, "Donating my time means a lot to me...not only to me but to other people."
Little Meadow was one of Sara's customers. Cassie Chambers, Meadow's mom, hasn't had much money to spend for a year. That's how long she's been unemployed. "Right now I live on child support, which is about $280 a month. That's it."
She says she has $6 to her name. But Cassie has more than money worries…she worries about housing for her kids. She's in a shelter now. "You know, the stay is only 6 months and I'm trying to get things figured out."
The line slowly snakes by the tables. Every one has customers of all ages, races and languages…young and old...single, and parents like Jason Hernandez, who told us, "I've been out of work since my car accident in '09. I've been struggling ever since with unemployment."
Jason has 2 kids. He hopes they don't get sick…he doesn't have insurance. Here, he received some blankets and referrals for help. He, like others, have high hopes for 2013. But many here will be back again next year. David Alexander swears he won't be. "If they can't help me find a job, I'm out of here. I mean, I'm just waiting for a little warmer weather. I gave it a shot."
-written by John Potter
We have a list of homeless shelters & services for the needy in Reno. Just click the link below: