The disheartening story about lifelong Las Vegas resident Gordy Thatcher and her struggle to maintain and keep her home on Tilden Street is a tale of systematic failure — on the part of social services, the city and private individuals with the best of intentions.
Thatcher has a penchant for collecting and storing away items that others often call trash, and it piles up in her home. She has a heart of gold, as is evident in her attempts to help distressed animals in town, but she also has a functional disability that creates a health and safety hazard, both for herself and her neighbors. And if a solution is not found, we’re afraid that someone is going to get hurt.
This isn’t a new problem; it’s been going on for years. The city has tried to resolve the matter, but to no avail. Nearly two years ago, the City Council ordered her property to be cleaned up within 10 days, which resulted in a benevolent response to clean up her home. It probably saved her from a forced eviction, but it was only a temporary fix. Now, the city has taken the matter to Municipal Court in hopes of obtaining a more permanent solution.
The situation is too dangerous to ignore, but no one wants to throw Thatcher out of her house. If she’s forced out, many fear that she’ll end up joining the ranks of the homeless in town.
But allowing her to remain in her home as-is won’t work, period. And just going in every few months and cleaning up the place doesn’t work either. The situation is a health and safety hazard, not only for Thatcher but for her neighbors as well. Adult Protective Services, the city and Thatcher’s friends and neighbors must find a permanent alternative.
Perhaps the best solution is be establish a limited guardianship, and provide her with a new and monitored housing arrangement along with the freedom Thatcher wants to come and go as she pleases.
The system has failed her, and her neighbors, so far. The challenge is to come up with a long-term solution that serves the interests of Thatcher and all who reside on Tilden Street. And the solution needs to be imposed soon.