For Immediate Release
Contact: Amy Ventetuolo
Reno, Nev. Nov. 27, 2018. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting:
1. Board of County Commissioners take first steps on establishing an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The Board of County Commissioners agreed to move forward establishing a future Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Washoe County has been working with Acting in Community Together in Organizing Northern Nevada (ACTIONN), who has been coordinating community meetings and researching best practices for establishing an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The preliminary discussion led by Assistant County Manager Kate Thomas, established that Washoe County plans to work to address the growing need for affordable housing in the community by creating an Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF), how the AHTF will be funded, who will administer the fund and what or who the fund will support.
Structure. By researching best practices and configuring the AHTF after national structures, staff recommended working with the Community Foundation of Western Nevada to create the fund and provide oversight, promote the AHTF and provide the resources needed instead of using internal staff.
“I think the recommendation to have the Community Foundation of Western Nevada oversee the fund, is a wonderful recommendation,” says Vice-Chair Kitty Jung. “I have deep trust in them and they have a great track record of being a well-run agency.”
Projects. The recommendation for the AHTF would be to fund affordable housing projects, some examples include, affordable multifamily housing, workforce housing and sober housing projects. Staff recommended working with Washoe County HOME Consortium to propose projects that would be funded by the AHTF.
Funding. In terms of researching preliminary funding sources, best practices include public revenue sources with possible options including General Fund revenue or Supplemental Government Services Tax revenue.
“Being bold and innovative is who we’ve said we are, and who we want to be as a Commission. We have weather here that will kill you, and we need to be a champion for all types of people in our community,” said Vice-Chair Kitty Jung. “We need to move this forward, not study it, but move it forward sooner rather than later.”
Next steps. Based on the discussion, staff gathered enough information and guidance to bring back a proposed draft ordinance to the Board in January 2019, to further discuss establishing the fund.
2. Commissioners approve grant to assist victims of crimes in Washoe County. Commissioners approved a $918,000 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Sub-Grant to provide assistance to victims of crime. The grant is awarded by the State of Nevada, Division of Child and Family Services to the Washoe County Human Services Agency (HSA) with Washoe County contributing $229,500, in addition to the grant.
VOCA’s Crime Assistance Grant Program helps victims of crime who have suffered physical, sexual, financial or emotional harm because of a crime committed against them.
The VOCA grant is used to help victims of crime in the following ways:
- Meet physical and emotional needs of victims.
- Stabilize victims of crime.
- Help victims understand criminal justice process.
- Provide victims safety and security.
3. County Commission accepts funding to address opioid crisis. County Commissioners accepted a $745,364 grant Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Justice for the Human Services Agency (HSA) to help combat opioid addiction in Washoe County. The grant will provide HSA with funding to administer mental health services to children under the age of 18 who have been impacted by the opioid crisis.
In 2015, opioid overdoses were the number one cause of drug-related deaths, nationally. According to the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services, approximately 30 percent of Nevadans seeking drug treatment were either parents or pregnant women. The increase of opioid addiction, especially among parents, has put a strain on child welfare agencies similar to HSA.
“HSA is diligently exploring the impacts and needed services to respond to the opioid addiction in our community and this grant will help add additional staff to address four identified objectives we believe will assist in responding to the impacts of the opioid and substance abuse occurrences in Washoe County,” said HSA Director Amber Howell.
4. Recommendation to nominate Commissioner Herman to State Land Use Planning Advisory Council. The State Land Use Planning Advisory Council (SLUPAC) is the only Governor-appointed council that has a county commissioner representative from each of Nevada’s seventeen counties as well as the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO). Washoe County Commissioners nominated Commissioner Herman to serve as the Washoe County representative on the State Land Use Planning Advisory Council with a term that will end December 31, 2021.
5. Commissioners accept donations to Washoe County Library System and Sheriff’s Office. Commissioners were pleased to accept the following donations from generous community members and organizations:
- Donation to Washoe Library System’s North Valleys branch for an in-kind donation valued at $3,821.00 from Panattoni Development Company, Inc., Alston Construction, Next Generation Drywall, RHP Mechanical, and Vasko Electric for the installation of a new hydration station.
- Donation to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in the amount of $84,752.87 from the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office to be utilized to support Detention Response Team (DRT), K9 Units, RAVEN, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit and Search and Rescue.