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Local woman aims to end homelessness

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 5:33 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -One local woman is hoping to combat homelessness with a local solution.

Dee Dee Foremaster, the executive director of the Rural Center for Independent Living knows the struggle all too well.

The organization had to close its doors and services in the meantime while finding a new building, leaving many of their clients with no where to go.

Dee Dee Foremaster from Rural Center for Independent Living aims to end homelessness
Dee Dee Foremaster from Rural Center for Independent Living aims to end homelessness(KOLO)

“They are out on the streets, some of them go to the night shelters which is provided by Carson city,” said Foremaster.

The pandemic has not made it easy for the staff and volunteers who all have underlying conditions, but Foremaster is hopeful she can reduce the amount of people on the streets.

“The folks on the streets are not transients,” said Foremaster. “Over 70% people on the streets are Nevada residents that have been living here for years.”

Foremaster’s efforts started back in August when the Statewide Independent Living Council awarded the organization a grant to move people into low income housing, but she says the problem is there isn’t enough housing.

“We’re short 80,000 units right now in the state of Nevada as far as housing goes,” added Foremaster.

She’s working to launch a pilot program to add “granny quarters” in the community or ADU’s, an accessory dwelling unit which shares the same existing lot of a larger home. Before this can happen Foremaster said there are certain changes needed to be made.

“We need to relax some of the restrictions,” explained Foremaster. “We should allow what’s called ‘daisy chaining’ which means you are allowed to utilize the existing utilities, water and sewer hookups that are already on the property.”

Foremaster plans to present her initiative to the Carson City board of supervisors. She said while there is a long road ahead, getting the word out is just the first step.

“I really feel strongly that Carson city has the ability to make the possible changes that need to happen,” added Foremaster. “So that people with disabilities, our elderly people and our veterans can get assistance and live a good life off the streets.”

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