Workshop Identifies Affordable Housing Challenges in Reno

Homeless camp by the Truckee River. Photo: Dana Nollsch.
Homeless camp by the Truckee River. Photo: Dana Nollsch.

Reno’s affordable housing challenges coincide with a national trend, and the city must develop a strategy on how to tackle the issue. That was the message presented today at an affordable housing workshop in front of the Reno City Council.

Matt Prosser, vice president of Economic & Planning Systems, along with other presenters, showed to the council data about Reno’s housing needs.

Increased housing options are needed in Reno, as well as access to higher quality housing, Prosser said. Single family detached homes are not affordable for the average worker in Reno, and only one-third of Reno residents can afford to buy a home he said at a July meeting.

But this is a national problem, not unique to Reno, he added. “Not one silver bullet will solve this issue. You have a very bifurcated housing market in term of residences. Less people are able to afford a single family (home) with a yard.”

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Matt Prosser, right, vice president of Economic & Planning Systems, a consultant on Reno’s master plan.

The workshop included a panel discussion with local and state housing experts who discussed the many barriers to affordable housing. Weekly motels were cited as an unhealthy default for those in need of affordable housing in Reno.

“At the end of the day it comes down to finding funds,” Prosser said. “I’m not sure that there are unknown easy-to-get revenue sources, unfortunately.”

Prosser previously noted that Reno’s economic development is focused on industrial growth. A large increase of industrial jobs is expected in the future, which will require double the amount of land designated for industrial use.

“What we found is a doubling of industrial land needs based on recent trends,” Prosser said in July. “If these recent trends continue, there will be huge demands for industrial lands going forward.”

Prosser challenged the city to develop its economic development strategy.

“Affordable housing is a growing problem,” he added. “It’s really a community need, and how can we all pitch in for that?”

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About Bob Conrad 823 Articles
Bob Conrad is proprietor and co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company (disclosure: client work includes projects funded by grants through UNR) and is an adjunct faculty member at Truckee Meadows Community College. He is a contributor to Reno Public Radio.