Possible sale of shelter to fund Cares Campus also on meeting agenda
The Reno City Council next week is scheduled to discuss enforcement of ordinances affecting those experiencing homelessness in the region. Those include camping along the river, feeding locations and sitting or lying down on public sidewalks.
“With the establishment of sufficient shelter capacity, camping regulations in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County may be enforced,” a city staff report notes for Wednesday’s council meeting. “This presents Reno with an important policy choice — should ordinances be amended to allow camping on public property only in designated areas and/or through a permitting process? This would address the potential relocation of unmanaged homeless encampments from the river corridor to locations where the activity is currently allowed.
“Staff recommends working with community stakeholders on appropriate approval procedures, designated camping areas, and safeguards to ensure camping prohibitions are only enforced when adequate capacity exists at shelters and other designated areas,” the staff report explains.
Fliers along the river, posted by University Police Services, have already forewarned people to expect to move to the CARES Campus by mid-April.
The council will also consider transferring the lead role for providing services to unsheltered populations from the City of Reno to Washoe County.
“Washoe County has recently expressed a willingness to become the lead agency for all regional homeless services,” staff noted in advance of Wednesday’s meeting. “The City of Reno, City of Sparks, and Washoe County staff have begun preliminary conversations and will continue to meet to formulate a joint transition plan including all capital and financial considerations.”
Council will also consider the sale of the Community Assistance Center, the longstanding shelter, to fund the Nevada CARES Campus. The CARES Campus, which city officials said requires significant funding for additional phases to build out the facility completely and offer services, would get an additional $7 million if the CAC is sold.
Community funds and grants would add an additional $4 million. Both efforts would fund phase two of three phases.
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 from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011, where he completed a dissertation on social media, journalism and crisis communications. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time research appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.