First home renovated as part of the Reno's Neighborhood Renewal Program

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The City of Reno unveiled the first renovated home as part of the Neighborhood Renewal Program. Through the program, a partnership with Truckee Meadows Habitat for Humanity, low and moderate income homeowners can apply for one-time funds to assist them with cleaning up their property.

This site in northeast Reno is part of the Neighborhood Renewal Program. Photo by Chris Buckley/KOLO.

Elizabeth Shepard, 81, was the first recipient of the program. It took about a month for about 100 volunteers to clean up and revitalize her home under the program. She says, looking at the property on the corner of E. 10th St. and Montello St., it feels like a new beginning.

"This is my life, this is my home and it's like a new page in my life," says Shepard. "And it's like starting all over again."

Shepard has lived in the home for 60 years. Those decades took a toll on the property. The volunteers didn't just fix up the exterior of the home, they also cleared out enough trash and debris to fill up ten dumpsters.

"It was in really bad shape," says Mark Vantassel, Construction Manager for Truckee Meadows Habitat for Humanity, who spent most of the last month at Shepard's house. "It had close to 300 yards of garbage."

"It was a lot of work and it wouldn't have gotten done if it weren't for all the volunteers," says Christine Price, Executive Director of Truckee Meadows Habitat for Humanity.

Shepard's son got emotional at the sight of the unveiling.

"You know, she's a great mom and her house was falling apart," says Ed Shepard. "To have a gift like this for her is unbelievable."

"To me, it's like a dream come true," says Elizabeth Shepard. "I will always appreciate what they have done for me."

Reno City Councilman Oscar Delgado says that more than 50 people have applied for the program.

"We tell everyone to apply and we'll filter through those and we'll see which ones are the most important, especially as we come into the winter months," says Councilman Delgado. "Of course, what's going to make this move a lot more faster is if people have certain skills or trade skills. Calling Habitat for Humanity, volunteer your time during the weekend or just after work. That will help us get to the next home and the next home after that."

The Neighborhood Renewal Program was approved by the Reno City Council in February 2017. The rehabilitation efforts are part of the City's Blight Mitigation Fund Initiative, which calls for dedicated funds for the restoration or demolition of unattractive and unsafe buildings in targeted locations identified by the City of Reno.

People who are interested in volunteering with the Neighborhood Renewal Program can call Habitat for Humanity at 775-323-5511.