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Bill would boost services for Nevadans in housing crisis

A bill introduced Monday in a legislative committee would create a statewide system for those in a housing crisis to access support services 24/7.

Senate Bill 270 would establish the Nevada Crisis Response System under the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Under the bill, the department would use available money to create a list of available state and local services — such as emergency response, housing and shelter — to direct at-risk residents to the right resources during a crisis.

Julie Kotchevar, administrator for the department’s Division of Public and Behavioral Health, said Monday that the department would likely distribute money to agencies tackling homelessness.

“It’s really our intent to fund what already exists, not to create new systems in the state to do it,” she said in response to questions from legislators as to how the system would operate.

An amendment to the bill, introduced Monday, would require the department to submit an annual legislative report on the system’s progress.

About 7,000 Nevadans are homeless, the bill’s co-sponsor, Sen. Dallas Harris, D-Las Vegas, told the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.

“I really think that this is the ‘easy button,’” she said. “This is something small that we can do and have a large impact on this very persistent problem.”

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

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