A solution to the long struggle to place all area homeless services at one location outside the downtown area may finally be in sight.
The Reno City Council voted this afternoon to OK a land swap that could lead to locating a "homeless services complex" near East Fourth Street.
Like cities everywhere Reno has struggled to deal with the needs and challenges presented by its homeless population. At any one time hundreds prowl its streets, drawn by a 24 hour downtown, cheap food and possible handouts, finding shelter and help where they can.
There are both economic and humanitarian reasons to put agencies helping them in one spot. Finding that one spot hasn't been easy. Most of us have long since lost count of the number of possible sites mentioned in 20 years of searching. Bob Rusk hasn't.
Rusk who has served as a liaison between the city and downtown redevelopment has struggled with this issue for all of those 20 years. He's seen promising moves before only to see them blocked. The reason is no mystery.:
The plan is to relocate St. Vincent's Dining Room to city owned property on Record Street near East Fourth. They would be followed by the Reno Sparks Gospel Mission. The idea is to provide one stop shopping for a variety of services....addiction treatment, transitional housing, clothing, a medical clinic among them. Like all the rest, this location is in someone's back yard....a Fourth Street neighborhood struggling with other cleanup issues....and it's only 2 blocks from the Downtown Events Center now under construction.
Rusk says he understands there may be concerns, but he says finally settling on a solution will allow the city to turn a corner in dealing with the homeless problem.