In an effort to provide our homeless population with access to restrooms, Sani-Hut portable restrooms with hand sanitizer have been temporarily placed in a variety of areas throughout Washoe County where there is a heavy concentration of encampments. About a dozen hand-washing stations have been deployed in the area as well. Bottled water has also been secured for general distribution among the homeless population.
The City of Reno has partnered with Volunteers of America (Northern California & Northern Nevada), the operator of the CAC (also known as the community homeless shelter on Record Street) to open the Reno Events Center with 375 beds to better accomplish social distancing. Beds are spaced six feet apart, and the facility has ample restrooms available for handwashing. Each evening, clients are screened for a temperature and/or COVID-19 symptoms before being allowed to enter the Events Center.
This has freed up a number of rooms at the CAC that have a bed and separate bathroom, where individuals who show symptoms can be isolated. Working with Community Health Alliance medical professionals, these individuals are screened. Based on their symptoms, if they are high-risk for COVID-19, they are removed from the shelter and placed in alternative housing.
Individuals and families remain at the Record Street shelter including Veterans, people who use medical devices that need to be plugged in, individuals with service animals and those with special needs. Families who are experiencing homelessness with children remain in individual units within the Record Street complex.
Food service providers including Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada, Reno Gospel Mission and the Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality have modified food delivery moving from sit-down dining to boxed meals that can be taken from the premises. Shelter providers are working to manage lines for food and shelter with greater social distancing.
The Downtown Reno Partnership and the Foundation for Recovery have dispatched Ambassadors and field staff to share information about COVID-19 with individuals who are unsheltered downtown, and throughout the community, with a focus on giving individuals supplies and the information they need to remain safe.
Updated: April 18, 2020