The Eddy House in downtown Reno is a drop-in center that helps homeless and at-risk youth in Northern Nevada. The organization recently announced plans to open a new 24-hour facility this fall. KUNR’s Anh Gray has more.
Right now, the organization is currently a drop-in center that offers support to young people between the ages of 12 and 24. It’s a safe place to stop by during the day for a snack or to get a variety of services, like help with finding a job. But the center closes at 5 pm, so many homeless youth have few options at night and find themselves on the streets or having to go to an adult shelter.
To address that issue, the new 16,000-square-foot facility will offer 50 overnight beds with a few more for emergencies. Michelle Gehr who heads up the organization says some might be fleeing dire situations.
“So, that will be for kids who find themselves escaping trafficking in the middle of the night," Gehr said, "or an abusive situation or find themselves homeless in the middle of the night.”
The Eddy House served nearly 700 youths last year.
Meredith Tanzer is also with the center. She says many of the youth she works with will be able to get back on their feet with support. Her concern is that the lack of affordable housing in the region creates an added barrier.
“We have a lot of needs that, once Eddy House is 24 hours, we’re going to need to push those kids and encourage them to move into situations," Tanzer said. "We’re not a destination, so sometimes people forget that; we’re just part of the continuum of moving these kids through and out of the system. There needs to be a focus on housing, which we know in Northern Nevada is an issue anyway.”
According to a study from FreeandClear, Washoe County has one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation.
The Reno Housing Authority, which provides federally subsidized housing has a long waiting list of more than 3,000 individuals and families on it.