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Tiny Homes Project Heralded at City Hall


Reno’s homeless shelter. Image: OurTownReno.com

Living Stones Church and Stonegate developer donate money toward effort

Tiny homes won’t solve Reno’s homeless crisis, but they’re expected to help.

The effort, championed by numerous advocates for the homeless and Councilwoman Neoma Jardon, is expected to give houseless individuals more stability in their living conditions.

Both Living Stones Church, and the developers of the controversial Stonegate project in the North Valleys, committed today money toward a potential new tiny home village.

The project would require about $270,000 to build the homes and provide case management to residents.

Stonegate offered $50,000 and Living Stones is donating $15,000.

“It will hopefully get the first five or 10 (tiny homes) off the ground,” said Craig Parish, a pastor at Living Stones.

It’s an effort that can’t come fast enough.

Coucilwoman Neoma Jardon

“Our temporary overflow (homeless) shelter is overflowing,” said Jardon, who noted that both the Volunteers of America (VOA) homeless shelter, and the auxiliary shelter are both full. “And it’s not winter yet. I think this is something we need to look at very aggressively.”

Jardon, Assistant City Manager Bill Thomas, Pat Cashell of VOA and others visited tiny home villages in Seattle and Portland to explore the idea for Reno’s growing homeless population.

“Opening up tiny homes provides a trauma-informed approach while providing sanctuary to folks who are (constantly) moving from one spot to the next spot,” said homeless advocate Lisa Lee. “Imagine how that feels to be moved all the time. Having a door to lock and a place to keep your stuff … it’s truly amazing.”

Mayor Hillary Schieve noted that the City Council is also considering 288 new affordable housing units.

“We have other projects like that coming on board,” she added.

Councilman Paul McKenzie

Even with the 40 new tiny homes, it’s not enough, said Councilman Paul McKenzie.

“I think we’re looking at transitioning 2,000 to 3,000 individuals in our community (into more stable housing),” he said. “We don’t have enough … services to deal with the issues we’re facing in our community.”

The tiny homes would be considered transitional housing and are anticipated to be operated privately, possibly by a nonprofit. VOA and Northern Nevada HOPES are partnering on the effort.

Possible locations include 250 Sage Street, 1035 East Commercial Row, or at the corner of Sage Street and Commercial Row.

Thomas said ordinance changes would need to be made before the homes are used.

Other Council Actions

(Provided by the City of Reno.)

Council accepts presentation regarding creation of a Downtown Management Organization and Business Improvement District)

There was a presentation and update regarding the future creation of a Downtown Management Organization and Business Improvement District (BID), including a Draft BID Management Plan, BID map and approval process timeline. Council accepted the report and directed staff to continue moving forward.

The BID formation process will include a Property Owner Petition and City Council approval through an ordinance, with the goal of beginning services in July 2018. The new nonprofit organization would have an operating budget of $2.3 million. The plan is to reengineer two existing assessment districts into one new BID. Visit Reno.gov/EconomicDevelopment for more information.

October 2017 is Fire Prevention Month in the City of Reno

Reno City Councilmember Paul McKenzie read a Proclamation recognizing October 2017 as Fire Prevention Month to ensure the year round safety and security of Reno residents and visitors. Visit Reno.gov/News for more information.

Five Reno Police Officers recognized for acts of courage

Reno Police Chief Jason Soto presented the following:
• Medal of Valor to Officer Marshall Eason and the Medal of Meritorious Service to Officer Bryan Schuster for their efforts during an officer-involved shooting event
• Medal of Meritorious Service to Officer Ty Trail for efforts during a water rescue
• Lifesaving Medal to Officer Travis Orange for efforts during a fire/CPR event
• Lifesaving Medal to Officer Ben Lancaster for efforts during a CPR event

Reno City Hall, Sixth Floor

In a 5-to-1 vote, Council approved an Award of Contract to Dianda Construction, Inc. for improvements to the sixth floor of Reno City Hall in an amount not to exceed $1,475,350 from the Building Permit Fund.

Adaptive Sports Programs

Council unanimously approved a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs for Disabled Veterans and Disabled Members of the Armed Forces Program to continue to provide the Fit but not Forgotten (FBNF) and Military to the Mountains (M2M) Veteran Fitness Classes at the Evelyn Mount Northeast Community Center in the amount of $29,228.

Council unanimously approved a grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation for expansion of the adaptive equipment rental program for individuals living with spinal cord injuries in the amount of $25,000.

Image: City of Reno.
Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.