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Ask Joe: Why are there no homeless shelters in Sparks?

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From the Ask Joe file, we're looking into a question about the effort to come up with solutions to our region's homeless problem.

One of our viewers, who asked that she not be identified, says she hears about Reno working to come up with solutions. She wants to know if Sparks has offered up any locations for a homeless shelter.

Here's what I found out:

I checked with Sparks City Manager Steve Driscoll about this. Here's a quick rundown of how the city of Sparks does address the problem:

Driscoll says Sparks contributes almost $300,000 a year in funding for local homeless programs. In addition Sparks police officers patrol the Truckee River path twice a week where homeless individuals tend to congregate.

Also, the city's maintenance crews go out and clean up the homeless camps. So in that way Driscoll says Sparks does contribute to the effort.

As far as land for a homeless shelter, Driscoll says the city simply does not have any land that it owns that it can dedicate for this purpose.

The city does own some small right of ways near the freeways, but those are just small strips of property. The city does own some land downtown that is being developed, but the rest of the property within city limits is privately owned, Driscoll says.

It's an issue that comes up a lot, and Driscoll says they are constantly looking at solutions. But he says there simply isn't any land to offer up at this point for a homeless shelter.

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