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Washoe County OKs plan for new homeless campus for women, kids

RENO — The Washoe County Commission has approved a 10-year lease between the state and the county’s Human Services Agency to renovate nearly a dozen buildings on Nevada’s mental health campus in Sparks to provide shelter for 150 homeless women and children.

The lease approved Tuesday by the commission must still be approved by the Nevada Board of Examiners, which is scheduled to consider it Nov. 13. Backers include Gov. Brian Sandoval, the board chairman.

Plans call for homeless women, children and families housed at a homeless shelter in downtown Reno to move to the new complex along the Truckee River on Galletti Way early next year.

It will help clear more room for homeless men at the downtown shelter, which saw a 60 percent increase in the number of people served in 2017.

The new complex at the Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services campus would provide critical services and specialized programming in addition to housing.

Amber Howell, director of the Washoe County Human Services Agency, said they hope to turn the facility into a model for communities across the country.

“Washoe County is extremely appreciative of the state of Nevada, especially Gov. Sandoval and his visionary staff, for their partnership in furthering our mission to provide a safe, secure and healthy community,” Howell said. “Our goal is to confront and address the root causes of homelessness by providing an option that goes beyond a warm meal and a bed for a night.”

Washoe County pays more than $2 million a year for the community assistance center just east of the downtown casino district on Record Street.

The new campus would serve 225 people in total.

In addition to homeless shelters, it would include a learning center, a senior adult daycare building, mobile pantry and access to a commercial kitchen.

Plans also call for an independent living, a substance-abuse rehabilitation building and three cottages for young women, funded through Grace Church.

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