Washoe County Safe Camp
After many community conversations about the need for expanding the capacity for emergency shelter, in a concurrent meeting dated November 18, 2020, the Washoe County Board of Commissioners and the City of Reno and Sparks City Councils voted to acquire and cost share three parcels on East 4th Street for the purpose of expanding shelter capacity in the region to assist people experiencing homelessness.
One of the purchased parcels included the Governor’s Bowl Park which was discussed to be a safe camping location. The location was identified to serve as a safe space where encampments along the Truckee River could relocate providing access to basic services and a more secure location for individuals not wishing to move into shelters.
The Safe Camp is in the development phase. The layout, budget and construction timeline are being established. Professional staff is engaged in the infrastructure development to address all location matters including site grading, emergency access, ADA access, drainage, utilities, etc.
As this process takes time, Washoe County developed a temporary site to operate while construction for the long-term site is underway. The opening for the temporary site took place June 17th, 2021. The tentative opening date for the long-term site will be shared as soon as it becomes available.
The Safe Camp is intended to provide a safe location for camping that is secure and provides basic facilities including restrooms, handwashing facilities and trash disposal. While there is very limited eligibility criteria to camp at the Safe Camp, the goal of the program is to provide as low barrier of a campground as possible from which relationships with service providers can be built to facilitate a transition to more appropriate permanent housing.
The Safe Camp is not intended to be a permanent destination, but rather a safe location with basic services from which to housing referrals can be facilitated. The goal for all Safe Camp participants is to move into stable, independent housing as soon as possible.
The Washoe County Regional Homeless Services (WCRHS) team is committed to distributing applications for admittance to the Safe Camp in an equitable, efficient way that is as low barrier as possible, respectful, and inviting to Safe Camp participants.
- To be eligible the person must be willing to work towards a housing plan and be able to manage their own activities of daily living.
- A very simple application form has been developed that asks the bare minimum amount of information needed to be able to make an admission decision and ensure the person meets the minimum criteria.
- Given this is a pilot program, we will be distributing and collecting applications through pilot partners to pilot the application process.
- Applications will ONLY be distributed to pilot partners, who are the only people that can submit an application on someone’s behalf, however, any community member can work with a pilot partner to get an application submitted.
- Pilot partner group is comprised of people who are doing outreach with an existing organization or government entity.
Pilot partners include
- Eddy House
- Health Plan of Nevada
- Washoe County MOST team
- City of Reno - Clean and Safe Program
- Safe Camp Case Manager
- Karma Box Project
- Volunteers of America
- The WCRHS team will review applications for completeness.
- Pilot partners will be engaged to review the list of applications and assist in the development of the approved participant list.
- Pilot partners will assist in determining ideal move in dates and existing community groups that may desire to be placed in tent groupings in close proximity and/or have corresponding move in dates.
For additional information, please contact Austin Solheim at: 775-446-9293.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
While the development phase is still in progress, please visit the FAQ below, questions such as admission/participation, program model, site administration and development are addressed:
If you are interested in additional information on Washoe County - Safe Camp Program, please contact Austin Solheim, Homeless Services Program Specialist, Office of the County Manager at 775-446-9293 or RegionalHomelessServices@washoecounty.us.