The Village at Sage Street: Meeting the challenge of affordable housing

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RENO, NV (KOLO) Less than two years ago it was still just an idea, a grass roots reply to our affordable housing shortage.

Today it was open, ready for occupancy and that was cause for celebration.

Most of those in attendance today had a role in making this happen. Local residents, businesses, city leaders brought together by the non-profit Community Foundation of Western Nevada.

When it was still in the talking stages, few of us knew quite what it would look like, but these manufactured housing units brought from a Wyoming mine suited the need nicely.

"We had to some extensive modifications for ADA (American Disabilities Act) and fire, but other than that we didn't need to change the structure of any of the buildings," says Chris Askin, President of the foundation . "It sped things up a great deal."

With speeches over, many took the opportunity to tour what they'd helped bring about--216 units, simple, but well appointed, each with TV and microwave. Communal restrooms, common areas, a store and dining hall, comfortable, secure living for just $400 dollars a month.

It's aimed at a slice of the local population--those making between $1,320 and $2,735 a mont--who have increasingly been priced out of the housing market.
They include those working low income jobs at local casinos and restaurants, warehouses, those on Social Security, perhaps sitting out a long wait on a list for housing elsewhere in the community. They'll have a place here, but, Askin says, as they move in they'll also make room on for others elsewhere.

"Some of those people who have been working who are somewhat self-sufficient, but can't afford rent in this town as they move here it actually opens up space in other places in town for other people."

The project with landscaping and security fencing came in for about $9 million dollars. Six million has been raised so far. Efforts to raise the rest is continuing, but the operation of the Village is expected to be self-sustaining through rent receipts.