Paul Parent goes to work at 4:30 in the morning at the Reno Sparks Gospel Mission. He says despite the frigid temperatures, there were people choosing to sleep outside, "I would say maybe eight-to-twelve this morning -shopping carts all parked in front of our building with their belongings. "
The City of Reno has opened its men's overflow shelter, but some beds have stayed empty, despite bitterly cold temperatures. Rick Redding heads the mission. "We know there's always an element that won't seek public shelter or the accommodations that organizations like ours offer for whatever reason: either they've been bounced from these shelters and things, or they've been drinking, they don't think they need it, or they don't like to follow the rules "
The scene at the mission runs contrary to what the Volunteers of America in Northern Nevada says. Sandy Isham says there are case workers from the City of Reno's Community Assistance Center on the streets year-round looking for homeless people to help, "It would be very surprising if there was someone in our community who didn't know about it and who didn't come here to access services. Certainly I wouldn't say it was impossible, but I would say it was improbable."
Redding says his staff makes it a point to hand out as many gloves, socks and shoes as possible during the winter months -in part to help people who won't go inside… survive.