City of Reno discusses potential site for overflow shelter

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Sid Nelson is used to homeless people coming up to him outside his shop on Fourth Street and Sage Street. He's owned Sid's Alignment & Brake Shop for twenty years, just a few blocks east of the Record Street homeless shelter. But he's expecting he'll be seeing more members of the homeless community on a regular basis if the City of Reno moves forward with a plan to build a permanent overflow shelter at 250 Sage Street. That proposed site for the shelter is just a few feet away from Nelson's business.

"I don't know what I'll do," says Nelson. "People, they don't like to be around homeless people. It will definitely affect my business."

Nelson says his business has already taken a hit over the last year because of all the construction on Fourth Street in front of his shop.

Across the street, the man who has owned Twin City Surplus for nearly 60 years has his own concerns about a potential homeless shelter in the area.

"They're spending a big jag of money on RTC redeveloping Fourth Street and the way businesses are migrating this way slowly, I think this could be the showpiece of Reno and Sparks tied together," says Larry Sliter. But he's worried that the comeback the area is making could be hampered by a new homeless shelter.

"I understand that's a concern that people might have," says Elaine Wiseman, Manager of Housing and Neighborhood Development for the City of Reno. City staff recognizes people want to know more about the proposed development, so the city hosted a community meeting. Wiseman says with the Record Street homeless shelter at capacity and the temporary overflow shelter on Washington Street nearly filled every night, a permanent solution is needed. But the plan to potentially build a permanent overflow shelter on Sage Street is only in its initial stage.

"Tonight is really to get that kind of feedback from people, so we can take that information and we can say, here are people's concerns and perhaps we can come to solutions to make this a viable site," says Wiseman. "And if not, then we go back to the drawing board and we continue looking."