Construction of 20 new homes and a tribal building in the Stewart Community in south Carson City is on track to meet a 2024 opening with earth currently being moved and infrastructure installed, according to Washoe Housing Authority Client Services Manager Keri Capps.
“We hope to have all 20 units assigned and people living in them by Dec. 31, 2024,” Capps told the Appeal on Monday.
The $14 million affordable housing project is the largest housing project for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California since the early 1990s. A groundbreaking ceremony on the 12-acre development site near the intersection of Ponderosa Drive and Snyder Avenue was held May 2.
Several new streets are being built, including Stewart Court, an extension of Dat So La Lee Way (named after the famous Washoe basket weaver) and Cipapa, which means Mountain Peach in Washoe. Construction teams have been installing electrical and sewer lines while preparing to pour sidewalks, according to Capps.
“We are extremely excited and can’t wait to provide our tribal members some much needed housing,” Capps said.
In a press release, the firm designing the project, Travois, pointed out the need for tribal housing and the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program used for the development.
“The Washoe Housing Authority partnered with Travois to successfully apply for a 2022 LIHTC allocation from the Nevada Housing Division and closed with equity investor Red Stone Equity Partners in May,” reads the release. “As part of the LIHTC process, Red Stone Equity Partners will provide over $7.6 million in equity that doesn’t need to be repaid.”
Among other funding, the Washoe Housing Authority received a $5.5 million Home Means Nevada award that will be used for roads, a water supply tank and water and sewage lines, setting up the project for future phases.
“To date, the WHA #2 development has nearly $14 million in debt-free financing through low-income housing and solar tax credit equity, the Home Means Nevada grant and AHP (Affordable Housing Program) funds, which is a significant achievement,” said Travois Project Manager Abby Day. “Leveraging these funds will enable the Washoe Housing Authority to develop 20 beautiful new homes and the infrastructure to develop many more.”
The homes will serve tribal members living at or below 50 percent of area median income (AMI), ranging from families with children to elders. According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines included in the housing application, 50 percent of AMI in Carson for a family of four is $43,300. For two people, it’s $34,650.
“It’s extremely vital to develop affordable housing in Northern Nevada, being in a high cost of living area in close proximity to Lake Tahoe and Reno,” said Washoe Housing Authority Executive Director Martin Montgomery. “There is also a housing shortage due to huge corporations like Amazon, Tesla and Panasonic coming into the region. Most tribal members don’t work for those companies and remain at moderate- to low-income positions, making it very challenging for them to find homes or apartments off the reservation.”
Montgomery added, “Because of the additional funding that has been applied for and awarded, it essentially means that we’re building 20 homes and a community building for a small amount. Whereas, if we did not have those funding sources, the practice of building one house a year would be continued.”
Travois designed each single-family home to include three bedrooms, a two-car garage, solar panels, lighted walkways and energy-efficient fixtures and equipment, according to the release.
“The community building, designed by Berger Hannafin Architecture, features a community room, full kitchen, computer room and office space for an on-site service coordinator. The service coordinator will work with tribal service providers to deliver on-site supportive services, including after-school tutoring for children,” reads the release.
In 1963, the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California established the Dresslerville Housing Authority, which became the Washoe Housing Authority in 1977. WHA manages housing programs in four communities for tribal members. For information, visit http://washoehousingauthority.com/.
Travois focuses on housing and economic development for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. Since 1995, Travois has brought investor equity to more than 250 developments in 23 states through the LIHTC program and the New Markets Tax Credit program, making an impact of more than $1.8 billion across Indian Country, according to a press release. For information, visit travois.com.