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Homeless population biggest concern for Las Vegas neighbors: Survey

An American large homeless encampment. (Photo by Reuters)

Neighbors and businesses across east Las Vegas say that their biggest concern is homelessness in the area.

According to a citizen survey called the Rafael Rivera Plan for Ward 3, the homeless population is the biggest concern in the area followed by cleaner streets and buildings, public safety issues and housing affordability.

“When homeless people lie outside the store, sleep there or get drunk, it doesn’t look good for the store, it is not good at all,” Monica Maldonado, owner of OJ Stillo, a retail store said in interview with Los Vegas’ local broadcast (FOX5).  

Months ago Maldonado and her husband opened the store for the low-rider community and said more than anything they’d like to see more events geared toward kids in the area.

“It helps our children the ones that are in need- it kind of finger points to whom needs more help,” she said.

So far, no effective action has been taken by the authorities and the city officials say the survey is still ongoing.

Homelessness and the housing crisis have been ongoing for some time in the US. The COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment, rising inflation, gas price hikes and mortgage rate growth, have exacerbated this crisis.

Rents are skyrocketing and the poor and especially many in the minority communities, simply cannot afford a place to live. Evictions have been on the rise and more and more families are finding themselves out on the streets.

As a rule, rent increases by about %2 to 3% a year, but this year the US average rental costs rise was about 15.87%. And in some major cities, residents saw an increase of more than 31%.

The state and federal authorities are doing very little and the homeless can only find some temporary relief in the activities of some volunteer and charity organizations.

Experts at the non-profit National Health Care for the Homeless Council estimate the total number of homeless deaths across America is actually between 17,000 and 40,000 every year.

Officials concede that tallying homeless deaths is a painstaking process and in many places there is no public record of those who perish while homeless.

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