Top 5 things you need to know about the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting


Human Services Agency calls two programs a sweeping success for foster children and the homeless.

Reno, Nevada. – December 09, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting. Videos of County Commission meetings are replayed regularly on WCTV (Charter Ch. 193). You may also watch videos on-demand online.

1. Glenn Duncan S.T.E.M Academy Choir brings holiday cheer to County Commission meeting. Fourth graders from the Glenn Duncan Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy treated County Commissioners by singing several popular, holiday songs at the Tuesday, Dec. 8, board meeting.

Students and teachers walked a few blocks from the school on Montello Street with an honorary escort from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit to the Washoe County Administrative Complex before lighting up the County Complex with sweet sounds of holiday cheer.

“We are so honored to have the children from Glenn Duncan bless us with their beautiful voices,” Commission Chair Marsha Berkbigler said. “Thank you to the children and staff for being a huge part of a tradition all of us here at the County really enjoy.”

Washoe County is a proud partner in education with the Glenn Duncan S.T.E.M. Academy. County staff members provide support for Glenn Duncan initiatives, such as mentoring opportunities, reading programs and funding for a school/community garden, which is currently being built near the playground.

2. Agreement between Catholic Charities and Washoe County provides services to homeless.

County Commissioners approved an agreement with Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada to provide housing, property management and supportive services at multiple sites to the Crossroads Program.

Crossroads is a public-private partnership between Washoe County Social Services that focuses on providing housing and supportive services for men and women transitioning out of substance abuse and homelessness. Research has shown Crossroads saves Washoe County millions of dollars each year by reducing costs associated with jail intake, hospital admissions and other emergency services.
By January 2016, Crossroads plans to offer 151 beds, 20 of which will be available to veterans.

Crossroads by the Numbers:

600 clients served since inception in 2011
102 days is the average length of stay at Crossroads
96 percent of residents volunteers in the community
25 percent of families have been reunited with family
100 percent of program participants are clean, sober and working toward their personal goals

“The community sees that Crossroads has created a paradigm shift in how we operate homeless services,” Washoe County Social Services Director Amber Howell said. “The success of the program has created a momentum to find ways to expand.”

3. Grant accepted to help offenders addicted to drug and/or alcohol. County Commissioners accepted a $45,000 Specialty Court General Fund Allocation from the Judicial Council of the State of Nevada to the Sparks Justice Court. The overall mission of the Sparks Recovery Court is to stop the abuse of alcohol and other drugs thereby reducing related criminal activity. The money will go toward providing participants who have a drug and/or alcohol addiction access to a therapeutic drug and alcohol treatment program with ongoing monitoring and supervision that will provide them with the foundation to live a substance-free life.

Justice of the Peace Kevin Higgins said that this grant will enable the Sparks Justice Court to provide counseling and supervision services to the people in our community who need them the most.

“Judge Wilson and I have long seen the need, but without this grant and the facilities available at the new courthouse we were not able provide these much-needed services,” Higgins said. “We will be accepting participants into the Sparks Recovery Court by the end of the year and plan on eventually having 40 to 50 people in the program. Effective drug and alcohol treatment with court supervision means fewer days in jail, fewer warrants and allows people to remain employed and supporting their families.”

4. Update on single stream recycling options for County residents. County Commissioners accepted a report and received an update from staff about single stream recycling in unincorporated Washoe County. The Commission directed staff to bring back options for bear-proof containers, proposed resident rates and other options for seniors.

The Board agreed to work on finalizing a franchise agreement to include single stream recycling.

In July, County Commissioners agreed to a three-month extension to the Garbage Franchise Agreement with Waste Management which was set to expire this month. The extension is in place while options are being considered for implementing single stream recycling in Washoe County in the near future.

5. Presentation by Human Services Agency. Assistant County Manager and acting Senior Services Director Kevin Schiller discussed the creation of the Human Services Agency, which will merge Social Services and Senior Services into one department over the next several months. The agency will provide services to residents across the continuum of care to include children, adults and senior citizens.

Social Services Director Amber Howell highlighted several programs from Senior and Social Services including the Specialized Foster Care (SFC) pilot program which was implemented to provide services for children in foster care with severe behavioral/emotional issues.

Howell said the program works well because these children are placed in homes with people who are trained at dealing with children who have extreme behavioral or emotional issues.

Statistics show the SFC program is working better for these children in the following ways:
Hospitalizations are down 100 percent
Psychotropic medications are down 37.5 percent
Placement disruptions are down 93 percent
Achievement of permanency is down 42 percent
Schiller updated County Commissioners about Washoe County Senior Services and its various programs including launching a Senior Volunteer Ambassador Program later this month. The new program, funded by a Community Development Block Grant, will encourage active seniors and other volunteers to engage and support seniors in the unincorporated areas of Washoe County.

The Senior Volunteer Ambassador Program supports the Meals on Wheels program with volunteer drivers and senior nutrition centers through the coordination and promotion of social activities geared specifically towards seniors. Volunteers will be trained to provide information on services and resources available to seniors and caregivers in Washoe County. Individuals interested in volunteering with the Senior Volunteer Ambassador Program should contact Senior Services at 775-328-2602.

“I want to commend Mr. Schiller and Ms. Howell and all the staff for their tremendous work on a daily basis,” Commissioner Bob Lucey said. “To accomplish what you have accomplished goes unrecognized and unrewarded, but please know this board thinks very highly of what you guys do.”

Contact: Chris Ciarlo
cciarlo (at) washoecounty (dot) us


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