Councilman reaches out to residents facing eviction

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RENO, Nev., (KOLO) One by one Wednesday morning, Councilman Oscar Delgado and a couple city staff members knocked on the doors of the 44 units in the Civic Center Apartments at 300 Holcomb in Reno.

Reno City Council member Oscar Delgado, left, talks with a Civic Center Apartments resident.Photo by Ed Pearce/KOLO.

They were there to reach out to residents who are facing eviction and the daunting task of looking for new homes in Reno's inflated housing market.

The building has been sold and the new owners want to renovate and raise the rent. For Colleen Danielson, who first contacted us on this story last week, that means this tiny studio apartment she currently rents for $550 a month will go to $900, a hundred dollars more than her entire monthly Social Security check.

She's not alone. Most of the residents there are living on fixed incomes, seniors and disabled vets. They're the flip side of Reno's economic upturn, priced out of their homes.

"Some people are comfortable," said Delgado. "They're working, but there are some people who are definitely panicking right now. They don't know what tomorrow looks like. They don't know what next month looks like and that bothers me tremendously."

The resource guide he was handing out contains a list of affordable housing options, as well as emergency number, social agencies, health services--the kind of list Colleen Danielson was compiling on her own when we first found her.

"She had an inch full of documents she was going through trying to find out what resources were available. So, working with the city we were able to create this resource guide for tenants here and throughout the city. And I wanted to knock on every single door and make sure everyone had this resource guide."

The reaction varied. Some had questions asking why the city couldn't stop the evictions or the rising rents.

This kind of outreach may be all the city can do. The building was not under any tax credit contract to provide low-cost housing and the Reno Housing authority has waiting lists months long for any openings.

Delgado says he wishes the city could do more and notes this kind of displacement by gentrification is happening elsewhere in the community.

Most were just happy someone cared enough to knock on the door and with helpful information.

In the meantime, Colleen Danielson may have found a home. Following a lead from the councilman, she's applied for an apartment across town.

The next problem will be the security deposit. Although the apartments here will be totally redone, the owner is not returning security deposits until a final walk-through. That doesn't give residents money to hold another apartment when and if they find one.

But our first story prompted several of our viewers to offer help--some with space in their homes and others willing to cover her deposit should she find one. She's going to take one of them up on that offer, though she insists on repaying it as a loan

Most who contacted us offering to help said they were willing to help any of the other residents. We've passed that information along.

In the meantime, facing an uncertain future just in time for the holidays, residents here have information that could guide them.