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Hope Springs project nets new donations ahead of 2021 opening (photos)


Northern Nevada HOPES’ Hope Springs announced a potential $800,000 in donations this month, moving the project closer to its $2.5 million goal. The announcement coincided with a media tour of the East Fourth Street campus, which is slated to open in early 2021.

An anonymous donor pledged to match, dollar for dollar, donations received up to $400,000. SilverSummit Healthplan pledged the first $100,000 to help reach the matching goal, which, if met, would net a full $800,000. SilverSummit is one of three managed care organizations providing care through Nevada’s Medicaid program and an ally of the community health center. 

Officials at Northern Nevada HOPES said it was already more than half way to fully funding the project, with $1.6 million secured.

The project is located on land donated by the city and will feature 30 individual sleeping units to house individuals who are currently without shelter. It’s northern Nevada’s first bridge-housing community–a temporary housing model that includes wraparound services to improve health and move residents into more stable and permanent housing.

Hope Springs’ housing units will surround a 3,200-square-foot facility with private restrooms and showers, laundry and cooking facilities in addition to community areas such as a dog park and fire pit.

A rendering and aerial view of the Hope Springs project as it was getting underway. Image: Northern Nevada HOPES.

Community leaders and city officials say the project is a welcome addition. Reno City Council member Neoma Jardon described the project as a huge benefit for local homeless people. 

“Clearly we are having issues with our growing homeless population,” she said. “Having creative and effective solutions to help address that, particularly shelter, is a big component. You can’t start a path to getting back on your feet if you don’t have a bed to lay in or a door to close or a shower to shower in. These 30 units, over time, are going to change hundreds of lives.”

Eric Schmacker, CEO of SilverSummit Healthplan, was also on hand for the donation announcement. He said SilverSummit Healthplan has been working with Northern Nevada HOPES for many years. Schmacker also described one of the missions of his organization as “making an impact on people’s lives,” and described the Hope Springs project as a valuable resource to assist homeless community members in improving their lives and regaining stability to make “positive, long-term changes for their wellness.”

SilverSummit Healthplan CEO Eric Schmacker and Reno City Council Member Neoma Jardon in front of one of the housing units. Image: Eric Marks

“It’s a community type of environment,” he said. “It gives people their privacy so we were proud to be able to donate $100,000 to this project.”

Northern Nevada HOPES CEO Sharon Chamberlin also expressed her excitement in the project.

“We are going to have 30 individual shelters for individuals who are experiencing homelessness to come in, build a sense of community and work on a plan to move them from the streets into more permanent housing.” 

Not only is the project viewed as a transitional facility, Facilities Director Jake Wahrer said HOPES’ goal is to also make it “the best version of this.” Wahrer notes the difficulty in trying to procure employment or appointments when “all your belongings are in a shopping cart.”

“This is a place for people to consider home, that is safe [for] them to take that transition from living on the street to more stable housing,” said Wahrer. “And now we can offer people a place that they can call home, and feel good about and proud about, and that can be beautiful and show what we can really do for this community.”

Officials at Northern Nevada HOPES said their own patients won’t be prioritized over anyone else needing services at Hope Springs, but any residents that want to become patients of HOPES will be able to do so and receive the wraparound services the facility provides. 

Potential residents will be able to make a self-referral or receive a referral from a partner organization to become a resident of Hope Springs, and will then be screened for readiness using the VI-SPDAT assessment, short for Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool, a standardized assessment tool. 

While each resident will have their own individualized care plan, they’ll all have the same goal: finding stability and moving to permanent housing. Stays are expected to average three to six months each, allowing Northern Nevada HOPES to serve 60 or more residents per year.

Eric Marks
Eric Markshttp://ericmarksphotography.com/
Born in 1971, Eric Marks was fortunate enough to grow up in a time and family where photography and literature were normal parts of his life. His parents were always enthusiastic and supportive of his photography as a child, and encouraged him to read and write as much as possible. From 2005 to 2012 he owned an award-winning, international, high definition video production company, and has produced video and photography in over 14 different countries on four continents. Eric majored at the University of Nevada, Reno in English/Writing and Art, graduating with English and Photography degrees in 2013, and again with an Art degree in 2018. He teaches all genres of photography at Truckee Meadows Community College, is a freelance photojournalist for several publications, and offers private photography instruction.