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Commissioners approve grants for Seniors, Search and Rescue

Media Release
For Immediate Release
www.washoecounty.us

Contact: Amy Ventetuolo
aventetuolo@washoecounty.us
775.328.2070

Reno, Nev. Jan. 8, 2019. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting:

1. Commissioners approve new program that offers transportation for seniors and the disabled. County Commissioners approved a grant for a Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) pilot program, aimed at improving transportation for seniors and the disabled living in Washoe County. Thanks to a $115,274 Federal Transit Administration grant, the pilot program will provide transportation in areas not previously served by RTC, in addition to urbanized Washoe County.

Washoe County Human Services Agency (HSA) serves more than 21,000 seniors every year through various programs. A recent increase in demand for services requires better transportation to reach seniors HSA is responsible for assisting. This new transportation program will be unique in that it offers free rides for seniors and the disabled, who are unable to transport themselves to doctor’s appointments and critical services available throughout the county.

“Our goal at the Human Services Agency is to improve the quality of life for the elderly and efficient transportation is critical in achieving that mission,” said Steve McBride, Senior Services Division Director. “We are excited about this program because we believe it will give immobile seniors an avenue to receive the services they need to have a long and healthy life.”

The grant includes a $40,277 match from Washoe County and runs through Sept. 30, 2020.

2. Commissioners approved funding to support displaced seniors. County Commissioners approved a $154,164 payment from Human Services Agency (HSA) to Alta Vista Mental Health, which will provide funding for supervision and case management services at the Temporary Assistance for Displaced Seniors (TADS) shelter.

Since its inception in 2016, the TADS program has offered food, safety and shelter to homeless seniors in Washoe County. While staying at the TADS shelter, clients receive critical services to address a variety of issues such as, physical and/or substance abuse, trauma and mental health support.

“Washoe County is shifting its focus away from its reliance on one night shelters and creating more permanent, safer solutions for seniors, in collaboration with the State of Nevada, local and private partnerships,” said Amber Howell, Director of HSA. “The TADS program provides a unique approach, which focuses on addressing each client’s needs while staying at TADS. The tiered model approach has proven to not only help clients become productive members of society, but reduce expenses associated with jail time and medical costs that come with transportation.”

To date, the TADS program has provided temporary housing and support to 112 seniors that were victims of abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment.

3. Commissioners approve William N. Pennington Foundation grant for sonar equipment for Search and Rescue. Commissioners approved a grant from the William N. Pennington Foundation in the amount of $171,340 to purchase new sonar equipment for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) Search and Rescue Unit.

With 12-year old outdated underwater sonar equipment currently in use by Search and Rescue, this equipment can detect up to 210 ft. deep. After extensive research, the Klein Sonar System and the Outland Remote Operated Vehicle are the only available manufactures that will allow search and recovery to operate at all depths within the lakes in Washoe County. The Klein Sonar is able to scan to 1,000 feet and will also aid in regional efforts, as surrounding counties also operate with this same equipment, aiding in mutual aid abilities for joint Search and Rescue operations.

The Klein 4900 Sonar System, a K-Wing I Depressor, a 24 Volt winch, and one Outland Remote Operated Vehicle will be purchased using $171,340.00 from the Pennington Foundation Grant.

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