Eddy House leader appeals to Washington as Reno youth homelessness worsens

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Reno’s youth homelessness is being addressed in Washington this week. Michele Gehr executive director at Eddy House, the drop-in youth homelessness center in Reno, is meeting with Nevada’s senators. Gehr sees inaction as unacceptable.

Michele Gehr says big tech companies moving into Nevada could help solve the crisis by giving back to the communities.

“We are in crisis mode,” said Gehr.

Reno youth homelessness is verging on an epidemic according to Gehr. She says her organization is trying to combat the issue, but she says she needs help.

“We need to hold our leaders accountable and have them lead us and actually help with housing,” said Gehr.

She is looking for funds to create a 24-hour center just for homeless youth. She says Nevada’s affordable housing shortage is contributing to the homelessness of more than 3,500 youth in Reno. Gehr says with big tech companies moving into Nevada, lawmakers should force them to give back to the community.

“I think our lawmakers need to make sure that they’re held accountable and that they are actually contributing locally to social services, to education, to affordable housing,” said Gehr.

Gehr is turning to Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) for help. Cortez Masto claims she and her colleagues are searching for funding to solve the crisis.

“We need to figure out how we address this crisis in our community and put more dollars towards it,” said Cortez Masto.

Cortez Masto suggests continued funding to the community block grant program, which, among other things, aims to provide affordable housing. She says she is working with local leaders to ensure these funds go to helping the most vulnerable in Reno.

“We should be looking for ways to find the funding and incentivize the communities to come together collaboratively to support particularly our youth, but just homelessness in general,” said Cortez Masto.

The senator expects a massive government funding package to include funding for the block grant program. It is not yet certain when, or if, that package will pass.

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