Carson City opens Richards Crossing: housing for vets, disabled, homeless | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City opens Richards Crossing: housing for vets, disabled, homeless

The small army of people who made Richards Crossing a reality celebrated its completion Wednesday.

About 120 people attended the ribbon cutting for Carson City's new, innovative apartment building for veterans, disabled and other homeless residents.

"It's a place to live and move to self sufficiency," said Gary Longaker, executive director, Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA), who developed the project.

The complex includes 38 fully-furnished apartments, laundry, game, and community rooms, library and office space for health and other service providers as well as a 2,400 square-foot training center where residents can learn new job skills.

A 39th unit will be occupied by an on-site property manager from Northern Nevada Community Housing.

The first residents should start moving in before the end of the month.

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"We have more applicants than we know what to do with," said Jeni Rios, director of rental and housing programs, NRHA. "We have enough for two more buildings this size."

During the ceremony, Longaker was joined by Jim Peckham, executive director, Friends in Service Helping (FISH), where the idea for Richards Crossing was hatched in 2013, and Garth Richards, the facility's namesake who donated the 1.7-acre parcel on Jeanell Drive where it now stands.

"The best thing that has ever happened to me is my wife Joanie," said Richards. "And the second best thing is this."

Peckham said FISH raised $1 million and brought on NRHA, which raised the rest of the $8.5 million needed to build the project.

Ten months ago Q&D Construction Inc. broke ground on it.

"It became the talk of the town and people wanted to be involved," said Peckham.

That included Supervisor Lori Bagwell, who's on the FISH board of directors, and Mayor Bob Crowell, who together led the effort to raise the $1,425-per-unit needed to equip and furnish each apartment so they're move-in ready.

"And when I say fully furnished, they've got peanut butter and jelly," said Peckham.

The names of those donors are etched onto a hanging tree sculpture off of the lobby and lining the walls are photographs by Carson High students Samantha Berger, Gabriella Estrada, Malcolm Jackson, Kacey Kendall, Karsen Law, Diana Lobato, Katelyn Morse, Kyle Papke, Kamille Soderstrom, Julisa Saenz and Sarah Woods.

Food for the grand opening was made by culinary arts students at Carson High.

Many others helped, from Friends of the Carson City Library's Browsers Corner Book Store, which donated 200 books to fill the library, and a legion of volunteers from Home Depot and Southwest Gas, who spent four days assembling furniture.

At least 40 people from the Church of Latter-day Saints in Carson City, Dayton, Douglas County and South Lake Tahoe spent the last few months making 38 handmade quilts for each apartment bedroom, said Pat LaMonica, who organized the quilters.

Members of the church also worked with the Carson City Veterans of Foreign Wars auxiliary to collect food and assemble food bins for each apartment to welcome tenants.

While many contributed, Crowell gave Carson City challenge coins to Bagwell, Longaker, Peckham and Richards, the four leading the charge.

"On the back it says 'A community that values its citizens,'" said Crowell. "I can't imagine anything that epitomizes that more than Richards Crossing."

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