Council members tackle homeless issue

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Council members from Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County sat down to discuss the homeless issue in Northern Nevada. The main issues are overflow in the shelters, and how to incorporate more social services to help clients land a job.

The Crossroads program of Reno was set as an example to follow.

"You heard today, that Crossroads has saved the community $12 million since they had opened, I mean that is absolutely huge, these are kinds of programs that we should be supporting because we know they're working," said Mayor Hillary Schieve.

Crossroads serves 600 clients every year, where 96% volunteer in the community. It has evolved into a program that reduced costs to services including REMSA, hospital, social services, or even incarceration costs.

The legislature needs more funding to put into making the shelters more like Crossroads. In order to do that, they will need to also increase their space.

"More money would come from Sparks, more money would come from Reno, more money would come from Washoe County in an equitable formula to cover better service, and increase capacity for the shelter," said David Bobzien, Council Member at large, City of Reno.

This would NOT require more taxpayers' money. Instead, it's looking for ways to use social services' money in a way that actually helps people, rather than putting a temporary band-aid on them.

City officials will be looking for larger spaces to house the overflow of the clients.

"Whether it's looking for real estate, whether it's looking for a warehouse, if we can infuse programming, the idea is to reach out to private and public partnerships, much like we've done with Crossroads," said Kevin Schiller, Assistant County Manager at Washoe County.

Tomorrow, the City of Reno will be reviewing their budget to enhance their shelter operations.

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