The Washoe County Board of County Commissioners earlier this week approved an agreement with the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada to establish the Washoe County Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The county also welcomed the first private donation to the fund, $75,000 from SilverSummit Healthplan, a crucial move to establish seed money for the fund.
The Affordable Housing Trust was established in 2019 to offset the cost of building affordable housing projects in Washoe County. Housing prices have become an increasing problem in northern Nevada. New residents are moving in faster than housing can be developed, and income in the region has not kept pace with home prices.
The fund will increase the supply of affordable housing for low-income residents with priority given to “very low income” households. Low income is defined as up to 80 percent of the median income in Washoe County, and very low income is up to 50 percent of the median income.
“We applaud Washoe County for embarking on this remarkable approach to provide more affordable housing options throughout the area,” said Eric Schmacker, SilverSummit Healthplan president and CEO. “Our organization is delighted to be a the founding donor for this initiative and know many in Washoe County will benefit from this investment.”
SilverSummit Healthplan is a Medicaid provider for the State of Nevada, and has a percentage of its customers who are experiencing homelessness is in Reno, so supporting affordable housing efforts at a local level is a strategic investment that benefits the entire state.
“Washoe County views homelessness and affordable housing as a regional issue that requires support from the public and private sectors; we cannot address this issue in silos,” Washoe County Manager Eric Brown said. “We are so grateful for this donation to kick off our private fundraising efforts.”