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City of Reno Provides Update on Housing Initiatives

Post Date:10/10/2018 10:15 AM

Following a year of work on several priority initiatives, the City of Reno is providing an update on the progress of nine programs and strategies meant to support the need for housing in the community. 

In the summer of 2017, the Reno City Council prioritized a series of strategies that would address a variety of housing concerns. Collectively, these strategies have been referred to as the City of Reno housing puzzle. 
Puzzle Pieces Outline City Housing Initiatives
Over the past year, the City has worked on these initiatives alongside other housing and homeless programs already in place in Reno. In an effort to keep the community informed, updates as of October 2018 are provided below.

Inclusionary Zoning

Inclusionary zoning policies typically support the creation of affordable units in new construction projects, which can be accomplished in numerous ways including requiring or incentivizing new residential development to include a certain percentage be affordable units for individuals in the low to moderate income range. The City of Reno worked with regional partners to identify this as topic for exploration in the Truckee Meadows Regional Strategy for Housing Affordability.

Motel Standards & Inspections

The City Council approved the Motel Inspection Program in August 2018. The program, which is scheduled to take effect in November, requires annual, proactive inspections of motel units; regular training for owners and property managers; and several other requirements. With more than 3,000 motel units in the city, the program is meant to support affordable housing options while ensuring the units are safe and properly maintained.

Individual Shelter Village

The City Council gave the go ahead for an individual shelter pilot project on a portion of the city-owned parcel at 250 Sage Street. The project will provide transitional housing to individuals. The City Council selected Northern Nevada HOPES as the operator of the project and donated up to $250,000 to support the project, called Hope Springs. The project is anticipated to have 30 individual housing units; a central facility that contains bathrooms, a kitchen, laundry, and a community space; and onsite case management and services. 

Housing Counseling Assistance Program

In response to concerns raised by renters, the City is collaborating with Nevada Legal Services and Washoe Legal Services to connect residents with programs and services offered by the non-profits. 

Accessory Dwelling Units

The proposed ordinance that would allow for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) within certain zoning districts and neighborhoods is making its way through the review process. Following a community outreach campaign to seek input on ADUs, the Reno Planning Commission analyzed the draft ordinance and has forwarded its recommendation to the City Council. The Council will consider the proposed amendment to Reno Municipal Code at a future date.

Land Trust

The Community Foundation of Western Nevada established the Community Housing Land Trust. The City of Reno has supported the organization’s affordable housing efforts in numerous ways:

  • In July 2018, the City Council approved an agreement to lease a portion of 250 Sage Street to the Land Trust for its Village on Sage Street project. The property and project, which includes approximately 192 units, will be rent restricted in perpetuity as an affordable housing project to persons 60% AMI or below. The City Council also agreed to lease up to 25 acre feet of water rights to the Land Trust to support the project and to share in the cleanup costs for the site. 
  • In August 2018, the City Council approved a $300,000 donation to the Land Trust for site improvements or fees charged by the City of Reno, including permit, sewer, and road impact fees for affordable housing projects. The projects must offer housing to residents of Reno 120% AMI or below or for rental assistance for residents 60% AMI or below.  
  • In September 2018, the City Council identified city-owned parcels to transfer to the Land Trust for the purpose of assisting with affordable housing in the community. The projects could vary from the traditional community land trust single family model to market rate, mixed use developments that could generate income to support operations and voucher programs.

Permanent Overflow Shelter

Following City Council direction, staff researched various parcels that were available to create a permanent overflow homeless shelter. After initial discussions and community outreach, the discussion has shifted toward a broader regional conversation about homeless facility needs. 

  • The City is working with Washoe County, the City of Sparks, and the State of Nevada to develop a plan to move some aspects of the homeless shelter and needed services to the Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services campus in Sparks.
  • In collaboration with the City of Sparks and Washoe County, the City created the Community Homelessness Advisory Board to make recommendations on homeless issues in the region.
  • The City Council also approved a grant-funded consulting agreement to complete a comprehensive analysis of the existing homeless and housing service delivery system in this region. The goal is to have a strategic regional plan developed that will address homelessness specific to the community’s needs.

Good Landlord Program

In September 2018, the City Council directed staff to move forward with the creation of a good landlord program. The program incentivizes landlords and property managers of multi-family properties to keep them free of criminal activity, maintain properties free of code violations, and implement objectives taught in good landlord training courses. The next step in the process is asking for public input on the program as the draft ordinances are developed.

Rehousing Program

Although still in its conceptual phase, the idea behind a rehousing program is to help individuals who become displaced from their living situation move into other affordable locations. This program is still under discussion and development.