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Heated buildings at Cares Campus opening as temperatures dip below freezing

By Bob Conrad

An internal memo shared with This Is Reno shows county officials have detailed plans to quickly open up two buildings at the Cares Campus for about six months. The openings are to meet demand from people who are sleeping outside.

“The [Reno Housing Authority] held an emergency meeting Tuesday, Dec. 7 to expedite the agreement with Washoe County to allow them immediate use in anticipation of the extreme cold weather expected this week,” wrote the county’s Dana Searcy. “RHA will officially take possession of the property December 8, 2021. The cost to Washoe County for the two buildings and about 2 acres of the parcel is $1.”

Almost five acres will be used for those who are living in tents at the safe camp areas of the campus, overflow from the Cares Campus and for construction staging.

According to Searcy’s memo, people were moved from the safe camp Wednesday into a heated garage “for additional protection from winter weather.” The county next week will build the overflow area and “each garage bay will hold 14 cots. We will start with preparing 2 bays and open additional as needed. There are 26 bays total.”

The county will be working on providing portable bathrooms, cots, blankets, water and residents can use the Cares Campus for food, showers and laundry, Searcy said. Many of those items and services are included in a budget item of American Rescue Plan funding to be reviewed at next week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting.

The Cares Campus continues to be full or near full most nights.

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