The Reno Initiative for Shelter & Equality
The Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Reno, Nevada. Our initiative is to cultivate a greater sense of dignity and humility by providing equal access to shelter, knowledge, and opportunity. We seek to create a stronger community through the use of shared resources and mutual aid.
We are a grass-roots organization founded in 2012 to support un-sheltered people in the Reno area through mutual aid. Since our humble beginnings, we have grown and evolved to comprise two main areas of service. One area is a continuation of the original outreach effort to provide food, supplies, services, and emergency shelter to our neighbors. Our impact depends on volunteers and donations from the community. Our second role is partnering with Washoe County Human Services Agency to manage the County funded Women’s, Senior’s, and Family Homes at OUR Place. In this role, RISE staff support guests 24/7 as they transition into stable housing and engage in county case management.
RISE is uniquely qualified to serve our community members since many of the volunteers and staff have lived experience and have overcome other life trauma connected to poverty. They can have compassionate relationships with individuals and also provide guidance. RISE does not assume the role of an institution when interacting with an individual. RISE staff and volunteers develop personal relationships which provide needed moral support and the opportunity for growth.
OUR Place is a low-barrier, housing-first emergency shelter unlike any other campus in the nation. It is specifically designed to provide a warm, safe, and home-like environment where guests feel welcomed and wanted. This holistic approach is meant to remove the stigma of poverty and provide a conducive space for healing and growth.
There are 38 rooms for families, a home for 138 women, and a place for temporarily displaced seniors. The facility is newly remodeled to provide an appealing place for temporary residents. RISE advocates operate these homes 24/7 and accept donations for miscellaneous items to support the residents as they work toward their goals.
Living Room is RISE’s housing voucher program for those who do not qualify for other local services. We have found rooms to use in the winter of 2020-2021 for temporary housing and focused community support to help people work towards their next step.
RISE and other local service providers are working to change cycles of homelessness. In RISE’s experience, building a large team of people has been the most impactful strategy.
During COVID restrictions. Individually packaged meals are still being delivered. Volunteers can continue to support the staff, but they need to coordinate with RISE to receive additional training and work remotely as much as possible to ensure safety.