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Concerns rise over growing homeless encampments in east Las Vegas

Concerns rise over growing homeless encampments in east Las Vegas
Posted at 5:56 PM, Feb 15, 2023

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A makeshift homeless encampment growing near Desert Inn and Mojave Road is raising concerns for business owners in the area, like Kala Kaiwi.

On Wednesday morning, the encampment was cleared out, leaving dozens of homeless people with nowhere to go.

County officials say dismantling camps, like this one, is happening more frequently and for now, that's the only tangible solution they've got to get the affected areas back to normal.

"When I first moved in originally, they said it was a good neighborhood but a lot of the businesses are struggling here because nobody wants to come to the area,” said Kaiwi, the owner of Primal Soul Piercing Studio.

Commissioner Tick Segerblom, who represents the area, says he responds to calls for forced evictions like these every few weeks. Business owners and residents tell him the areas surrounding them have been overrun by homeless encampments. But the cleanup takes a whole lot of money and resources.

"It's not cheap. It's very expensive and honestly if we could find a better way to put people in housing or something that might be a more productive way but this is the best way we know how right now. I've asked the police to monitor this specific place 24/7 for at least a month or two and see if we can permanently keep people out of there,” Segerblom said.

Commissioner Segerblom estimates $20,000 to $30,000 are spent each time a forced eviction is done because contractors, metro police, the health district and other agencies need to be paid for help.

"Sometimes I don’t even know if it’s worth it because as soon as they drive away, they are right back in the same spot. A lot of times, they say they clean it up but honestly it's just like they move them to a different sector of the community,” Kaiwi said.

Social service providers were also here on-site to help the homeless people and inform them of other services they could utilize.