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‘Years of neglect’: Former homeless shelter needs nearly $3 million in repairs


The former downtown Community Assistance Center homeless shelter, which was vacated after the Nevada Cares Campus opened, needs $2.75 million in repairs. That’s according to City of Reno staff who said the facility is contaminated with mold and is now uninhabitable.

Homeless advocates have been pushing for the facility’s reopening, which they said would be an alternative for people who can’t stay at the Cares Campus. That won’t be happening. The city, instead, is considering appraisals to analyze what to do with the site.

“It’s presently red-tagged because of all manner of building code deficiencies and pervasive mold,” City Manager Doug Thornley told This Is Reno. “Because of the severity of the damage, we engaged a third-party inspector to take a look.”

A consultant’s report notes the structure’s roof is “severely leaking water into the entire interior space including all floors, ceiling and wall cavities throughout.” The building’s elevator has been decommissioned, and electrical and HVAC systems have been destroyed. 

“The years of neglect on the leaking roofs present another life-safety related issue in regards to dangerous levels of mold,” a city staff report notes. “The amount of water damage that these buildings have been subject to is an ideal environment for many types of toxic mold that is obvious to the naked eye throughout both buildings.”

Thornley said lack of capital improvement project funding is to blame, which was “driven largely by disparate views regarding county responsibilities in this service space.”

He said there are no plans for the buildings, given their condition. 

Advocates blame the city for the shelter’s neglect. Ilya Arbatman penned an opinion column two years ago demanding the CAC be kept open. He now says the city is clearly at fault for the shelter’s neglect.

“[The] council and the manager need to be held accountable for willfully neglecting the CAC buildings,” he told This Is Reno. “The city should not be allowed to sell or otherwise dismantle the CAC. They need to repair these buildings and agendize a discussion regarding their future use, such as for transitional, supportive housing or for an additional women’s and family shelter to be managed by RISE.”

KRNV first reported this story: https://mynews4.com/news/local/mold-water-damage-prevent-reopening-of-old-reno-homeless-shelter-despite-calls-from-activists-record-street-washoe-county-cares-campus#

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.