Different Interpretations of a Recent Meeting and an Indirect Answer
Volunteers recently attended a meeting on Friday, September 6, at City Hall to discuss the uncertain future of maintaining the heated tent at the Record St. shelter’s parking lot next winter for those living on the streets.
Members from RISE (Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality) and Monica Cochran the Management Analyst for the City’s Community Development were among those attending.
City staff said there will still be a place for people to sleep inside the shelter at Record St. and that the overflow shelter on Washington street will also remain operational. But following the meeting, volunteers told Our Town Reno they were under the impression the overflow tent, which had 45 filled beds throughout last winter, will no longer be an available option.
After we reached out to Cochran, Jayna Litz, who signed her email Management Assistant / Housing and Neighborhood Development wrote back saying: “The City of Reno fully intends for our winter shelter plans to be as robust as ever. We are finalizing funding for the tent operations, and we have no doubt that our residents will be safe and protected during our coldest time of the year.”
Is There Enough Money for the Tent this Upcoming Winter?
According to several volunteers and homeless advocates, they said their impression is that the City of Reno does not yet have the available funding for the tent this upcoming winter.
Volunteers said they could fundraise but that it might be too late now to get enough money before temperatures start dipping. They said they’ve been told last year’s cost of having the tent, blankets, other supplies and doing the laundry cost in excess of $100,000. Our Town Reno did not confirm this amount independently.
These new worries come amid other uncertainty over the future of the Record street campus, including plans to no longer have volunteer meals served there and also new usage of the parking lot for a health care community triage center to be run by the Well Care Foundation.
Should Downtown Ambassadors Help Out?
Volunteers said if the tent does resume its operations as they hope, they would want the person who watches over to get paid or to maybe have Reno downtown ambassadors in charge. Wiglesworth said she would still volunteer for free every night if it comes down to it.
“[It’s] like I'm making 50 more people smile. I got 50 more new friends, I made a point in the meeting to say I would staff it every night because it needs to be done,” she said.
Wiglesworth knows from experience. She says she played a similar role while being homeless herself along the Truckee River.
“When I lived outside, I was like the overnight person. I would go and make sure the old cats had their blankets, the youngsters were hidden so the cops didn’t see them, everybody woke up before the cops woke them up. Cause that's a ticket and then that sucks. Possibly jail, if you have a warrant that you can't afford to go and get because you're homeless,” she said.
Volunteers said they are hoping another meeting will be scheduled soon to ensure the tent overflow shelter is indeed revived.