Carson City summit focuses on affordable housing | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City summit focuses on affordable housing

From left: Tony Ramirez, HUD Field Office Director-Reno, Jimmy Stracner, HUD Regional Administrator for Region IX, and Bill Brewer, Deputy Director for NRHA visit the Richard’s Crossing library earlier this year. Affordable housing like that at Richard's Crossing will be the topic of an upcoming summit.

A summit on Wednesday aims to make a dent in Carson City's affordable housing crisis.

Carson City Health and Human Services (CCHHS) is hosting Housing Our Workforce, a meeting for landlords, developers, investors, Realtors, and property managers to talk about what can be done to add to the inventory of housing the city's workforce can afford.

From 2010 to 2016, 114 new units were added to the market while renter households increased by 830, according to the Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA). A third of renters pay more than 35 percent of their income in rent and about 20 percent pay more than half their income.

The goal of the summit is to educate those involved in the housing market about the options available to them, said Nicki Aaker, director, CCHHS.

"We'll present the programs that are out there, that developers and landlords may not be aware of," said Aaker.

Those programs include housing vouchers available through NRHA and tenant-based rental assistance and other grants from CCHHS.

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"All our programs provide case management as well as rental assistance," said Mary Jane Ostrander, division manager, CCHHS. "If a problem arises we intervene and try to resolve it."

Ostrander said previously landlords were presented with longterm pledges they were reluctant to make.

Instead, the city is hoping for informal arrangements that still give the landlord control yet chip away at the workforce housing shortage.

"Can we have two to three units?" set aside for tenants on housing programs, said Aaker.

"We'll ask for two to three, but we'll take one," said Ostrander.

The summit agenda includes an introduction by Supervisor Lori Bagwell, and presentations on housing programs by Ostrander, a representative from Nevada Housing Division, and Jeni Rios, director of rental and housing programs, NRHA.

Rios will also give a personal testimonial on her journey from being a recipient of housing vouchers, then called Section 8, which gave her a chance to get a better job and, eventually, off the program and into a home she owned.

A CCHHS client, too, who has progressed from homelessness to stability and to paying part of his rent will also give a testimonial.

A panel including Lee Plemel, director, Community Development, will take questions and discuss what changes would help incentive developers and landlords to provide more workforce housing.

The Housing Our Workforce summit is being put on with donations from Builders Realty Capital, NRHA, and Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors.

The summit is an outgrowth of a housing subcommittee of the city's Behavioral Health Task Force established in 2016. The subcommittee was initially created to address housing for a population with mental health issues, but soon broadened its discussion.

"Housing became one of those identified needs. If individuals don't have stable housing then how can they be successful with treatment?" said Aaker. "Then we got digging into it more and found out housing is not just an issue for those with mental health needs but for our workforce, too."

Those involved in residential real estate who want to attend can register by contacting CCHHS' Ostrander at mostrander@carson.org or 775-283-7234.