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Homeless camp disbanded in Pahrump

Updated September 19, 2018 - 11:55 am

Last week was a very difficult time for Pahrump area homeless who have been living for many years on a vacant property behind the Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Casino.

On Wednesday, Sept. 12, all those who had made their makeshift homes on the property were forced to relocate after the owner of the parcel had notices of trespass issued.

“Several people have been living unlawfully for some time on the property east of the Pahrump Nugget, commonly referred to as the ‘homeless camp,’” a news release from the Nye County Sheriff’s Office detailed of the situation. “Nye County Code Compliance contacted the owner of that land located east of the Pahrump Nugget and advised them that the county considered the situation to be a nuisance under Nye County code. The owner was given notice by code compliance to bring the property into compliance with applicable laws.”

According to the news release, a meeting was held on September 12 with the property owner in Pahrump, with county officials attending, including Nye County Code Compliance, Nye County Manager Tim Sutton, Nye County Sheriff’s Office personnel, Nye County District Attorney Angela Bello and Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Service.

“During that meeting the landowner requested that all the people living unlawfully be trespassed from the property,” the news release informed. “The sheriff’s office responded on behalf of the landowner and advised everyone on the property that they were trespassing and needed to leave. Anyone who remains on the property or returns after receiving notice will be arrested for trespassing.”

Nye County Public Information Officer Arnold Knightly explained that the situation all began with Nye County Code Compliance. This department is dedicated to enforcing the county’s codes and under said codes, the property’s condition was considered to be a public health and safety hazard and therefore, a nuisance. County code gives the county the power to require abatement of any public nuisance and if the property owner does not comply. The county can then abate the nuisance itself and charge all costs to the property owner.

“This was started with code enforcement contacting the property’s owner, who then visited their private property between Basin and Wilson, east of Panorama,” Knightly said. “The property owner asked for the sheriff’s office to be the authorized agent authority to help trespass the people living there illegally. The owner has committed to cleaning up the land of all trash, buildings and other issues. There are more than eight violations cited by code compliance for the land.”

The land in question is owned by Basin Panorama Investors, according to Knightly.

Resources for homeless citizens

Just two days after the trespass notice was given, Nevada Legal Services held a legal clinic in Pahrump at the Nye County Courthouse, offering information and advice to those affected by the situation. The organization meets regularly in Pahrump for “Ask A Lawyer” events that offer free legal assistance for low-income individuals. The next Pahrump “Ask A Lawyer” legal clinic will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at the courthouse, 1520 E. Basin Ave.

For more information visit www.nlslaw.net

There are many other groups striving to assist those who find themselves without permanent homes, as well. The American Veterans Foundation of Pahrump is one such entity, seeking to remedy the many problems that homeless veterans face. This group meets every second Thursday of each month, at the NyE Communities Coalition in Room 31.

Homeless Veterans Solutions, another Pahrump-based organization, works closely with the foundation on these issues too. For more information on the foundation visit www.avfop.org or call 775-537-4095. For more information on Homeless Veterans Solutions visit www.homelessvetsolutions.com or call 775-419-2610.

The Nevada Outreach Training Organization, known for its No To Abuse program, also provides services to “at risk” individuals in the community, including the homeless, through its Pahrump Family Resource Center. The resource center also partners with the local Community Crisis Intervention Committee in order to conduct outreach to area homeless. The Nevada Outreach Training Organization is at 621 S. Blagg Road and can be reached by calling 775-751-1118.

Covenant Lighthouse Church’s You Matter Ministries focuses on providing services and support to the entire homeless population, hosting a variety of events to better their lives. Nancy Brown heads the effort, which includes providing food, clothing, hygiene products, spirituality, socialization and much more for those who are struggling with housing needs. For more information, contact Covenant Lighthouse Church at 775-537-5555 or stop by the church, 921 S. Highway 160, Suite 401 in the Wheeler Springs Plaza. Additional information can also be found at the You Matter Ministries Facebook page.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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