Housing for vets, disabled, homeless opens in Carson City

Richards Crossing has 38 supportive housing units for special needs households and veterans.

Richards Crossing has 38 supportive housing units for special needs households and veterans.

Carson City’s new, innovative apartment building for veterans, disabled and other homeless residents opened on May 1.

“It’s a place to live and move to self sufficiency,” Gary Longaker, executive director, Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA), who developed the project, told the Nevada Appeal.

The goal is for people to get on their feet, get job training and other skills, find work and eventually move out once their income exceeds the limit to be on the program.

“This is not transitional housing, it’s permanent, supportive and they’ll live there until they can move into the regular rental market,” said Jeni Chavez, NRHA director of rental and housing programs.

NRHA and Nevada Rural Housing Inc. were co-developers on the project, which was funded by low-income housing tax credits, HOME program funds through Nevada Housing Division, Community Development Block Grant funds from Carson City, and Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program funds.

It started as a $7 million project but grew to about $8.5 million, mostly because of the addition of security measures such as cameras and doors with window panels, said Heather Simola, real property administrator, NRHA.

The federal rental assistance housing vouchers subsidizing the costs are dedicated to the project and eight of them are designated for veterans.

The complex includes 38 fully-furnished apartments, laundry, game, and community rooms, library and office space for health and other service providers as well as a 2,400 square-foot training center where residents can learn new job skills.

An on-site property manager from Northern Nevada Community Housing occupies a 39th unit.

“It’s the first of its kind in Nevada. Other organizations provide similar housing, but their supportive services are nearby and not on site,” Simola said.

Each apartment is 520 square feet and includes a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bath.

Four of the units are outfitted for disabled tenants and up to three people are allowed to live in each apartment.

Outside, off a large community room, is a dog park area for residents’ pets and planned raised garden beds.

“We have more applicants than we know what to do with,” Jeni Rios, director of rental and housing programs for NRHA, said. “We have enough for two more buildings this size.”

The idea for Richards Crossing was hatched in 2013 by staff with Friends in Service Helping (FISH).

Garth Richards, the facility’s namesake, donated the 1.7-acre parcel on Jeanell Drive for the apartments.

“The best thing that has ever happened to me is my wife Joanie,” Richards said during the April 12 opening ceremony for the apartments. “And the second best thing is this.”

Jim Peckham, executive director of FISH, said the service organization raised $1 million and brought on NRHA, which raised the rest of the $8.5 million needed to build the project.

Q&D Construction Inc. broke ground on the project in mid-2016.

“It became the talk of the town and people wanted to be involved,” Peckham said.

That included Supervisor Lori Bagwell, who’s on the FISH board of directors, and Mayor Bob Crowell, who together led the effort to raise the $1,425-per-unit needed to equip and furnish each apartment so they’re move-in ready.

Many volunteers helped with book donations to fill the library, assemble furniture and even make handmade quilts.

“I’m just thrilled at the community’s acceptance of this project. We’ve had no pushback,” Bagwell said.“I’m humbled that in Carson City we have people with such good hearts.”


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