State, local leaders brainstorm solutions to Nevada’s housing crisis

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 11:08 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - State and local leaders converged in Las Vegas to address the housing crisis and shortage affecting hundreds of thousands of Nevadans, brainstorming solutions ahead of the 2023 Legislative Session.

The forums were held behind closed doors in Reno and Las Vegas, organized by the Nevada Housing Coalition. The website tracks the housing shortage, reporting that the state lacks 84,320 units for Nevadans in extreme poverty. The crisis is growing for working class families, who are seeing rents and housing prices increasingly out of reach.

“People are ready to have housing that looks different than it does today, which today of course, it’s unaffordable for too many Nevadans,” said Christine Hess of the Nevada Housing Coalition.

Leaders are aware of the lengths Nevadans are going, to live in the Silver State: stories range from multigenerational housing, working full and part-time jobs, seniors seeking financial aid, to people moving from the state.

“We don’t want that to happen. We want our citizens to remain here,” said Assemblywoman Clara Thomas of District 17 in the Northwest Valley.

“What do we need to do to build out our affordable housing stock, and make it so everyday workers like teachers and nurses and police officers, and everybody else who’s living in our community, can do so at a high quality? How can we make it affordable for them to live here?” said Councilman Brian Knudsen of Las Vegas.

Stakeholders met with property owners and developers to discuss potential options, such as two-to-three year leases, especially for seniors and families looking for stable housing.

Nevada leaders are discussing ways to remove barriers for rental applicants with challenged credit, such as a form of “lease insurance”; leaders in Oregon are already investigating how potential models could work.

Leaders such as Knudsen also hope to address a growing crisis among the homeless population and find them permanent housing.

“There’s a growing number of encampments, of people who have not been housed, who are living on our streets. And it’s unacceptable as a community that we allow that to happen. We have gotten to build more units, more affordable units,” Knudsen said.

“For some though, it may include housing that includes support services. It could be a senior, it could be a veteran, it could be someone with some substance abuse challenges. It could be criminal justice history. For some, permanent, supportive housing is temporary. For some, supportive housing is permanent. And the only solution that may work for them, they’re always going to depend on that combination of housing and services. But it’s a very niche space that we really don’t do well here in Nevada, and have an opportunity to really change how we’re strategically addressing it,” Hess said.

The Nevada Housing Coalition will prepare a comprehensive report addressing issues and proposed solutions across the state.