RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Robert Tillery carries a backpack and Navy cap where ever he goes these days. Most of his other belongings are locked up inside the apartment he used to rent at Vintage at Citi Vista on Record Street in Reno.
"My situation now is I have been locked out since the 8th of this month," he told News 4. "I'm staying with a friend."
Tillery claims he was evicted because of extra fees that were never explained to him. Those fees added up to hundreds of dollars and led to an eviction case being filed in Reno Justice court. The 63 year old Navy veteran, who relies on federal housing assistance, says he was in the dark about the extra costs. He says no one ever explained what they were for.
"No they never did," he told us.
Adding to the mystery, management at the apartment complex would not answer any of our questions, and kicked us off the property when we showed up with Robert to get details about those charges on his account.
Enter Farrah Downey, Founder of the Emergency Eviction Prevention Program of Northern Nevada. Downey wasted no time diving into Robert's case after seeing our stories about him on Facebook. She is contracted by the Reno Housing Authority to advocate on behalf of both the landlord and tenant to help find solutions and to help people get their lives back on track by ensuring that first and foremost, they have a place to live.
"After you've been evicted now you're on a downstream," Downey pointed out. "So we want to intercept."
Downey says it appears the extra charges that Robert was unaware of appear to be legitimate fees for things like cable TV and storage. She also found the Housing Authority's monthly rent voucher fluctuated by more than a hundred dollars and when that happens it's the tenant who has to make up the difference.
She's focused now on helping Robert move forward.
"We're going to formulate housing options, and then we're going to find options in the community to help him transition ino the unit," she said as she explained the process.
That's a big relief to Robert, who's been living with a friend since his eviction but isn't sure what might happen when that offer runs out.
"I'm hoping to get this all resolved to figure out whether I'm either going home or moving," he said.
Hopefully he'll know soon. One thing's for sure, he now has an advocate by his side in Downey who is determined to help.
"We're going to get him transitioned, there's places for him to go," Downey promised. "We'll find good housing."
Downey tells News 4 they are hoping to get Robert's belongings back to him by next week and if all goes well they'll find a new place for him to live soon after that.
If you'd like more information about the Emergency Eviction Prevention Program, you can reach them by contacting the Reno Housing Authority or reach out directly at
(775) 360-6133. You can also find them online at www.eeppnn.com.