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Funding Cuts Threaten Reno Homeless Shelter

(AP Photo/Scott Sady)

Robert Scott Cook, originally from Alaska, walks his dog Tramp through the tent city that sprang up next to the homeless shelter in downtown Reno, Nev., Wednesday, June 25, 2008. The tent city that sprang up during the recession may be gone but there are still homeless in need of help in Reno.

Each year, Reno receives federal grants to maintain the city’s only homeless shelter and expand affordable housing. 

But those grants are threatened by proposed cuts in President Trump’s budget.

Under the president's plan, a handful of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs would be eliminated, reducing the department's budget by about $6 billion.

Those programs include Community Development Block Grants, which benefit communities throughout the state. 

Reno receives about $1.9 million in CDBG funding annually, but the city is most concerned about $500,000, said Councilman At-Large David Bobzien.

“Quite frankly, without the money, we would have no options for homelessness and for homeless individuals in our community,” Bobzien said.

The councilman said the money pays for approximately 150,000 bed nights in the Reno-Sparks area. It also helps people pay for housing through rental and housing programs.

“The funds that are at risk help us address the challenges that we’re facing right now,” he said.

Bobzien agreed with Reno's mayor that cutting funding for homeless beds will increase emergency room visits and police costs.

“These services are part of an integrated model where it’s not just the city and government that’s providing services but we work together in partnership with other community providers,” he said.

While the president's budget is a proposal at this point, Bobzien said, “The president’s budget sets the tone for the discussion."

He remains hopeful that Nevada's delegation will fight to keep the block grants intact.

“At the end of the day, it is important to remember that these funds are funds that Nevadans pay through their taxes to the federal government and CGBD is the model for providing flexibility to local communities to meet their needs and provide the money back,” Bobzien said. 



David Bobzien, councilman at-large, Reno City Council

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Kristy Totten is a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada. Previously she was a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly, and has covered technology, education and economic development for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.