Volunteers of America providing more resources for homeless population

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 6:54 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Volunteers of America (VOA) is getting ready to launch more resources that aim to help northern Nevada’s homeless population. The organization is opening up a Bridge-Housing Program, Resource Center, and is working with local governments to operate the Nevada Cares Campus.

The new shelter will use Cares Act funds to provide homeless services and housing at the old Governor’s Bowl Park on fourth street. Initially the shelter will help 500 people and expand to 800 people once its fully running.

The 46,000 square ft. facility will look similar to a tent, but is a vinyl sprung structure. VOA Pat Cashell said, “It’s a real structure, its impressive.” He continued, “There will be heat, AC, everything a building has, this building will have.”

The shelter will be open 24/7, have specific areas for pets, personal belongings, and shower facilities. “It will follow the same structure that we currently have at Record Street. There will be rules that individuals will have to follow, but no different than what we do now.”

Cashell said there are 2,000 people living on the streets who need help. “This is really a blessing for our community to be able to have a shelter of this magnitude and of this size, and that number of individuals that we will be able to help now is at least doubled.”

The Bridge Housing program will help 52 single qualified men and veterans who are in between finding homes. The men will be housed at the former Family Shelter on Record Street. VOA Linda Grace said it’s also opening up 40 additional units for its Rapid Re-Housing program. The units will be spread throughout the community for people and families in need of shelter.

Grace said all these programs are dire for the homeless population. “They are critical services because once you get an individual housed and stabilized, they become a community resource and not looked at as a community liability, so they are able to give back.”

“There is a lot of people affected by the pandemic, loss of jobs, loss of income, and you know with the rising rents, and the scarcity of affordable housing it has made an impact on many, many people,” Grace said.

The VOA is also bringing back a Resource Center for people to pick up mail, use a computer to apply for jobs, and make phone calls.

The Bridge Housing program and Resource Center is set to open March 15th and the Nevada Cares Campus on April 1st.

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