Tiny Homes Ordinance Changes Proceed at City

Proposed location of a permanent overflow homeless shelter.
Proposed location of a permanent overflow homeless shelter.

The Reno City Council today discussed possible ordinance changes to allow for a tiny homes village on Sage Street. From that discussion, council voted to proceed with developing the changes, which will be heard by the planning commission and then at future council meetings.

Councilmember Neoma Jardon has been championing the initiative and said that construction could begin as soon as July barring any complications.

Low-paying jobs and Reno’s skyrocketing housing prices have priced many people out of homes. Rising rents are also making the region unaffordable.

The tiny homes are seen as bridge housing, which allow homeless individuals a temporary form of shelter in order to get them off the streets and ultimately into more stable housing.

The shelter and the temporary overflow shelters are notoriously at capacity.

It’s reached a crisis point, said community organizer Jay Kolbet-Clausell. “There is no room for families with kids to have an emergency place to sleep… Not just housing.”

A number of people spoke in favor of the tiny homes village. Today’s discussion was the first step to changing the ordinances needed to make tiny homes possible.

“We understand the sense of urgency,” said Assistant City Manager Bill Thomas. An operator would be needed to run the facility.

Coucilwoman Neoma Jardon
Coucilwoman Neoma Jardon

Jardon said that the project will also need wrap-around services.

“There is incredible community interest in this,” she said. “A community meeting should be held to gather all these people. I don’t think money will be an issue. We’ve already raised $100,000.”

“There’s no magic wand, but we have to do something,” echoed Mayor Hillary Schieve.

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State Land Could Be Used for New Shelter

State land, at the adult mental health services facility on Galletti Way, is proposed to be used for a new shelter.

It’s “sounding very promising,” said City Manager Sabra Newby. “With state involvement and the metal health component…on that campus, I think there are a lot of synergies there.”

Jardon agreed, calling the the location incredibly promising.

“It’s still in the works; it’s not a done deal,” she said. “Shout out to the Governor for his support.”

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Bob Conrad is co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company. He also works part time for the University of Nevada, Reno.