Deysi, 65, had been living along the Truckee river for months now, until the flood threats came, and police came by threatening to arrest those who remained in their tents on the banks.
Brief Special Treatment
Initially, Deysi and others displaced from the river banks got special treatment at Wooster High, with elevated beds, healthy food, crates for their pets, but then before they got too cozy it was over.
“We got lots of food, and I got four blankets. I was so happy and warm,” she remembers.
Her two dogs, a Chihuahua and a Rat Terrier mix, were not far from her. “They are my babies, that’s why if it’s somewhere that doesn’t take dogs, I can’t go. But they just got rid of us too quick.”
Life on the river was not easy, with constant threats of being arrested and stares from pedestrians, joggers and cyclists.
“Police and lots of people just see us as annoying. They don’t want us around. Rich people don’t want us around. Give us a break though. We don’t steal. We don’t do any bad things. We are just living. That’s all we ask for, to keep living. I wish I could have my own place to live. Heck yeah. But what can you do?”
Previously, some of the less fortunate in the area had been living together under a bridge or in covered areas near freeways, but kept getting pushed further and further down the river.
A Safe Camping Space?
Local activists, with groups such as RISE and ACTIONN, have been pushing for a safe space for the houseless, where camping would be allowed. Deysi thinks it’s a great idea.
“A camping area where we would be allowed to live would be nice, maybe with a bathroom and a garbage. That’s why we are so dirty, because we don’t have anywhere to go take a shower. “
But she says she isn’t sure the political will would be there from local authorities.
'We Are Human Beings'
“We’re not bums, we are really human beings. We do have feelings,” she told Our Town Reno when we met her at a park recently, while activists were figuring out how to help her find a warmer place.
She is extremely grateful for the activists and volunteers who have been helping her.
“They’ve been angels from heaven. They’ve been really helpful. God bless them. I can’t believe how kind they are.”