Our Town Reno

Our Town Reno

This is Our Town Reno audio street chronicles, a podcast by Our Town Reno. Here, you’ll hear raw unfiltered stories and opinions from the streets of Reno. We do live reporting and spoken word. We address issues of homelessness, the affordable housing crisis, the disappearance of public space and the value of helping each other out. As Reno rebrands, what happens to our most vulnerable?

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    Crystal Meth and other Street Poetry by Donald Griffin

    Our resident street poet from the NEW Generation Dare group, Donald Griffin, reads three of his poems, Crystal Meth, Holding on and Bedtime. Griffin lost the mother of his children to addiction and was attacked while sleeping along the Truckee River, before deciding to get sober and turn his life around.

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    Paula, the Downtown BeadMaker

    Despite all of her daily woes, Paula, who calls herself a starving artist and lives in a motel, shows up at her streetside storefront on the corner of the north end of the Truckee river and Sierra street, rain or shine, in downtown Reno, to sell the necklaces and bracelets she makes.

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    Sharon Marie Daniels, Serving Community Meals and Worried about New Restrictions

    “I'm very upset. I'm pissed off,” Sharon Marie Daniels said. “We just want to help people and they're cutting that off so we're not able to do that anymore.” Soon, after new locations are figured out, healthy volunteer prepared meals will no longer be allowed at Reno's main downtown shelter. Daniels who was homeless herself as a teen says she will keep fighting to make sure her Sunday noontime meals are served, wherever she can, to access the most people in need as possible.

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    Renee and Steven, Trying to Get Sober Together on the Streets

    “It's hard, but it's better cause it's warm, you know?” Steven said. “It's stressful because I feel like I’ve got to protect … you know, the streets ain't fun.” Two college graduates whose lives took difficult turns, Renee and Steven were recently separated after he went to jail in Louisiana and she decided to go back home to Pennsylvania. “I was assaulted while he was in jail. So yeah, it's hard,” she said. Renee said she missed the embrace of his arms and feeling safe with Steven. The two decided to be together again in Reno, even if it means living on the streets. Here they describe how difficult it is and how they are trying to get sober.

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    Stacey Payne, From Addict in the Depths of Despair to Recovery Entrepreneur

    “I took money out of my retirement and kind of bet on myself that I could do it... Since then, I've had the ability to gather a couple of investors who believe in the cause ... And everything now is self funded. And we do that by charging fees to live with us. So the idea of someone living with us isn't to have a handout. It's a hand up." Stacey Payne explains how she established Lyfe Recovery Services in northern Nevada and how her own journey led her to this entrepreneurial vision.

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    Jerry Jackson, Trying to Get out of a Spiral after Burnout and a Breakdown

    Jackson, 43, was an operations manager for a hazardous waste facility, married with a daughter, when he ran into burnout, and started self-medicating with alcohol, sending his life into what he himself calls a downward spiral. “I kind of had a nervous breakdown about six years ago and kind of got out of the circle of life so to speak. I just haven't been able to pick myself back up,” he said.

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    Ace, 33, Homeless and Suicidal in Reno

    Ace says he’s newly homeless again after he said he had family problems back on the East Coast with his older brother and mother, who both siblings depend on. He says he didn’t agree with his mother taking his formerly jailed brother in. He says he had been a caretaker, cooking for his mom. He’d been to Reno before and felt people didn’t bother him here, so he came back. He says he’s also had periods of homelessness in St. Louis, Missouri and Portland, Oregon, among other places, but he feels safer in the Biggest Little City.

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    Legendary Baby Bleu, An Unsheltered Prostitute Surviving Winter

    Legendary Baby Bleu was homeless when we met her and had recently survived winter on the streets. She described how she started being a prostitute as a high school student and how a bad relationship left her fending for herself 24/7.

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    Joanne, 73, A Reader on the Streets Left to Fend for Herself after Facing Mounting Bills

    “I've been on the streets for about six months, but (soon) when I get my check, I am going to have a room. I'm on the streets because there were a lot of bills I had to pay so I couldn't pay rent and everything, so I just did the only thing that I could do.” It's terrible that in our society elders among us who worked hard their whole lives face moments without shelter here in Reno during this cold, raw winter. Joanne tells her story to Our Town Reno reporters Jordan Blevins and Prince Nesta.

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