homelessness

Leaves from trees framing the edges of the image. In the distance there is a red tent. The sky is light gray.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

In Washoe County, the air quality has been deemed unhealthy for sensitive groups for more than 20 days in the last month due to fires in California. When air quality is compromised, people are recommended to limit their time outside, but unsheltered individuals can’t always do that.

There is a red ball in the forefront, a tricycle and playground house in the middle, and a tan building in the background.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR

Washoe County has officially opened the doors to Our Place to Grow, a shelter for unhoused families with children in Sparks. Units for women will be opening soon as well. The county provided $2 million for the facility, which is run by the homelessness advocacy nonprofit called Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality, also known as RISE. KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck spoke with the executive director, Benjamin Castro, about what sets Our Place to Grow apart from other shelters.

A building that says, 'Reno Events Center.' There is a man walking in front of the building and a line of people near the entrance.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

During the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 300 houseless individuals have been sleeping at the Reno Events Center, but the makeshift shelter is slated to close at the end of June. Washoe County and City of Reno officials are working on securing a place for those staying at the facility to sleep next.

On the right is a tractor being operated in focus. On the left is a man who is blurry, standing next to three shopping carts filled with stuff.
Isaac Hoops / This Is Reno

Houseless individuals are more at risk of contracting COVID-19, and this week, authorities in Reno and Sparks swept through and cleared out two different campsites, dispersing unsheltered individuals into the community.

The Mountain West News Bureau’s Noah Glick checked in with KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck, who covered these cleanup activities for our media partner This Is Reno, to learn what impacts these actions may have.

Heavy equipment on a construction site, include a steamroller and a bulldozer.
Francisco Daum / Flickr Creative Commons

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a homeless housing project was set to open in Sparks in April. The progress of the 265-bed campus has been slowed but is still moving along.

Glass doors with papers taped to them that say, "Closed to the public until further notice please call: 800-509-7762."
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting houseless individuals who are in different stages of recovery for substance use. Foundation for Recovery is a drop-in center in Sparks that provides resources for people in recovery from substance use. But this clinic, like others in the region, had to close its doors due to the novel coronavirus.

Just being homeless puts you at greater risk for getting and spreading COVID-19. And several homeless residents have tested positive for the disease around the Mountain West, from Denver to Las Vegas. That’s forcing community leaders and shelter owners to take precautions.

 


A row of different shaped and colored tents along a fence with tall casinos in the background.
Lucia Starbuck / Our Town Reno

Friday, the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Board will decide if ex-military barracks in Stead can be used as emergency housing for the houseless during the COVID-19 pandemic. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano and Lucia Starbuck discussed how people without stable shelter are feeling, and what's being done to protect this vulnerable population.

People lining up along the outside of the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada.
Brian Bahouth / The Sierra Nevada Ally

Over the weekend, the Reno area’s largest homeless shelters closed in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The City of Reno opened the downtown Reno Events Center for more spacious, emergency housing. While many took advantage of the new lodging, some are afraid of the close confines of mass shelters, no matter the size.

Piles of trash stacked up next to a railroad.
Stephanie Serrano / KUNR

The City of Reno dismantled an encampment that was home to nearly 175 people after a health violation was issued by the Washoe County Health District. Many people were removed with only their most valuable possessions. Today we hear from the man who leads the River Cleanup Crew, which had to organize a clean-up of 400 yards of leftover belongings and trash in three days. 

Several tents are being dismantled.
Stephanie Serrano / KUNR Public Radio

137 tents that were turned into homes by people living on the streets of Reno were removed by law enforcement on Wednesday, March 4.

Editor's note: this story contains adult language. 

The Eddy House is the only youth homeless facility in Northern Nevada, and it's expanding later this month. As Nevada ranks highest in unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness, the new facility will offer Reno its first 24-hour overnight shelter for young people. Listen as Diaz Dixon, CEO of the Eddy House, walked us through the new facility and explained how it's been designed to meet an individual's needs.

A woman stands behind a podium to ask members of the Community Homelessness Advisory Board a question at a public meeting.
Stephanie Serrano

Soon local women, children and families experiencing homelessness will have their own shelter to stay in. The Washoe County Board of Commissioners has approved nearly $15 million to fund the Our Place Homeless Housing Project in Sparks. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano reports the shelter will have 265 beds.

Citizens protest at the Las Vegas City Council meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, during which council members considered a ban on people sleeping in public areas in downtown Las Vegas.
Jeff Scheid / The Nevada Independent

Las Vegas will soon enforce a new ordinance that bans homeless people from sleeping on some city streets. For some city leaders, the new laws are a necessary step in addressing homelessness as a public health problem, but critics argue the measure is waging an illegal "war on the poor." KUNR's Paul Boger talked to Shannon Miller who's been reporting on the new law for The Nevada Independent.

Lexie's Gift: Clothing For Those In Transition

Jul 29, 2019
Lexie's Gift pop-up shop with clothing racks and donation truck.
Kylee Warden

In Reno, countless adults and children are in transition. They may be homeless, in the foster care system, or recovering from substance abuse. A local, nonprofit organization called Lexie’s Gift is helping those in transition by providing clothing for free. Kylee Warden of Reno Youth Radio visited the shop and has this story.

Illustrated by Stephanie Serrano

With high housing prices in Northern Nevada, Reno is seeing community members choosing to stay in motels as long-term residents. The city created a motel inspection program late last year and the team recently conducted its first inspection. KUNR’s Michelle Billman sat down with our reporters Stephanie Serrano and Krysta Scripter to learn more.

Illustrated by Stephanie Serrano

Along the Truckee River, you may spot tents set up by people experiencing homelessness in Reno. One of them is Brandon, a musician in his thirties who has been homeless for a year and recently set up camp. He’s originally from Colorado Springs but has been in Reno for 20 years. In this audio postcard, Brandon talks about relying on his guitar and bargaining to make a living.

A row of canned food on a shelf.
Lucia Starbuck.

Due to rising rents and tuition costs, there is an increasing need for easier access to affordable food and other daily necessities for students at the University of Nevada, Reno. Student contributor Lucia Starbuck explores a resource on campus called Pack Provisions that provided food or clothing to more than 600 visitors during the fall semester.

 

Our Town Reno: Life Along The Truckee River

Dec 18, 2018

Until recently, Wendy Wiglesworth lived for nine years on the banks of the Truckee River after fleeing an abusive relationship and not feeling comfortable at Reno's main downtown shelter.  In this audio postcard, she recounts details of surviving as a homeless person and creating a sense of community along the river.

Jazmin Dardy presenting her spoken word poem at the Our Town Reno, Where Will We Sleep Tonight event.
Krysta Scripter

Last year, more than 2,000 Washoe County youth experienced homelessness, according to local health officials. Jasmin Dardy, a youth who says she has struggled with abuse and trauma, spoke about what led her to the streets with KUNR's Stephanie Serrano.

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