Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2017

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Editorial: City is wrong to end crisis center funding

June 6, 2003

In recent weeks Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman seemed close to achieving his oft-stated goal of regional financing for the downtown Crisis Intervention Center. Clark County had promised to maintain its status as a major financial partner, willing to contribute more than $212,000 in cash and about $175,000 in services. North Las Vegas was less resolute but nevertheless more open to the idea than ever before. It agreed to contribute $40,000 if all other local governments, including Henderson and Boulder City, also contributed. The United Way announced it would provide $61,000. The state planned to increase the center's staff for mental health services by at least six people. This should have been enough for Goodman to proclaim that his leadership on the regional funding issue was getting results, and enough for the city to kick in its share of about $244,000.

Instead, Goodman and four other members of the seven-member City Council voted Tuesday to pull Las Vegas out of the funding mix for the crisis center -- all because Henderson and Boulder City have so far declined to participate. The move surprised Clark County Manager Thom Reilly, who said he was "confused and disappointed." So are we. After being such a champion of regional funding, the city is pulling out and is now saying homeless people and the crisis center are a county responsibility. Of course, Reilly was quick to point out that the county is not in a position to fund both its share and the city's share. That means the crisis center will close June 30 -- the beginning of the next fiscal year -- if the city doesn't reverse its position.

Goodman should act to salvage the crisis center, which is the last vestige of what had been a broad safety net for the homeless before he took office four years ago.