Sen. Jacky Rosen visited Carson City last week to talk about a major issue affecting the city and the state: affordable housing.
Rosen toured Richards Crossing, the two-year old, 39-unit homeless housing complex on Jeanell Drive, met with two of the residents, and afterward sat down with local officials, including Mayor Bob Crowell, City Manager Nancy Paulson, and housing representatives.
“I want to thank you for being here and for all you do. What an amazing, life changing facility,” said Rosen.
Rosen is a co-sponsor of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act, which would provide grants for facilities like Richards Crossing, and she led a bipartisan letter to Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee appropriators urging them to fund HUD-VASH, a housing voucher program for veterans, at or above $40 million, as well as in support of NeighborWorks America, which awarded Nevada grants totaling $814,000 this year.
Steve Aichroth, administrator, Nevada Housing Division, thanked Rosen also for writing a letter with other senators to the Internal Revenue Service in support of a tax credit for veterans projects.
“We would love to duplicate this,” said Heather Simola, real property administrator, Nevada Rural Housing Authority, referring to Richards Crossing. “It takes five, six, seven layers of financing. It’s a mountain to climb.”
Bill Brewer, NRHA executive director, said Richards Crossing had six funding sources, including tax credits for investors and Community Development Block Grant money.
“Maybe we in Washington need to think about how do we create a template for funding streams,” said Rosen.
Crowell said the Nevada Legislature has tried to tackle mental health services, an underlying issue for homelessness, for years.
“It’s just too much money. We have to deal with the logjam, there has to be some subsidy from the federal and state governments,” said Crowell. “We need to find a way to dedicate some money to mental health.”
Matthew Fleming, executive director, Northern Nevada Community Housing, said projects need project-based housing vouchers to attract investors.
Fleming said after the meeting NNCH in the next month should be breaking ground on Valley Springs, a 62-unit affordable housing development with 10 units set aside for homeless veterans. The project will be located on Hot Springs Road near Roop Street and he expects it to be completed by October 2020.
Meanwhile, the problems of homelessness and affordable housing continue to grow in Carson City.
The city’s Night Off the Street, or NOTS, program saw a 24 percent increase in its bed nights this year. The program provides homeless individuals a bed inside one of seven participating churches during the winter months. Transportation is provided by the Salvation Army Church. During its 2017-2018 program, NOTS provided 3,151 bed nights and this past winter, ending in March, it provided 4,178 bed nights.
The program said its priority needs are a shelter, a daytime resting shelter, and affordable housing.
NRHA recently updated its Carson City housing study data. The 2019 rental housing need is 665 market-rate units, 370 workforce units, and 1,265 subsidized/affordable units.