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Nonprofit seeks to help low-to-moderate income homeowners with repairs


A non-profit organization that helps low-to-moderate income earners with home rehabilitation began work locally this year and discussed its objectives Wednesday with the Reno City Council.

Rebuilding Together Northern Nevada, the local chapter of the national organization Rebuilding Together, began work here in January. It’s one of 130 chapters across the United States. The national group was founded in 1988 and has served 6 million people.

It serves elderly populations, along with veterans, lower income homeowners, people with disabilities, families with children, and victims of natural disasters. Repairs are done free of charge.

Board president Katie Pace said the Northern Nevada chapter has done work that includes water heater replacement, roofing, and even helped a client who had been unable to get into her bathroom.

Katie Pace
Katie Pace, president of RTNN

“She was not able to get into her bathroom for 2 years,” Pace said. “She couldn’t cross the threshold without fear of falling through the floor. We were able to secure her floor, put linoleum tile down, secure her toilet, and she is so happy to have this repaired.”

Pace said some clients have multiple minor issues with their homes. For example, one didn’t have a functional lock and had been using a chair to keep their home secure.

According to the Rebuilding Together Northern Nevada, the eight principles of healthy homes are as follows: dry, clean, free of pests, free of contaminants, well ventilated, properly maintained, and thermally controlled.

The organization states wages have not kept pace with cost-of-living increases and that more than a quarter of jobs statewide pay below poverty threshold for a family of four. Additionally, the it says approximately 30% of homeowners in the Reno-Sparks area spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs and 10% spend more than 50% of their income on housing costs.

“These households are particularly vulnerable to poor housing conditions and housing displacement,” Rebuilding Together Northern Nevada states. “It is critically important that homeowners with lower incomes be provided with resources to maintain and stay in their homes.”

To receive services, income eligibility of all earners age 18 and older in the household can’t exceed 80% of Washoe County’s median income. A person living alone would qualify if they earned $44,850 annually or less. The maximum annual income would be $64,100 for a household of four.  

Other qualifications for participants are as follows:

  • They must own their home, live in it as their primary residence and intend to remain in the home for at least two years following completion of the work.
  • Proof of ownership includes current property tax statement, current homeowner insurance policy, or current mortgage statement, title, or certificate of ownership.
  • Other documents required are a current homeowner insurance policy declaration, bank statement and identification.

Councilman Oscar Delgado said the community will benefit from RTNN services.

“Nothing is more important than to keep people housed under their current circumstances in a safe place before they get into that crisis mode when they’re having to find a motel,” Delgado said.

For more information on the organization, visit www.rtnnv.org.

Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.