What if a baby floated down the Truckee River today? We pick her basket out of the water. We get her medical care and find her a loving family. Then, another baby floats down the river tomorrow. We do the same thing for him. Then, more babies start following. What do we do? Do we keep providing loving homes?

Yes, but we also go up the river to figure out why the babies are floating down the river in order to solve the root of the problem. We make sure another baby never gets put into a basket and sent down the river. And we need to handle our housing crisis the same way. The root of the problem is that housing is no longer affordable in our community.

This is not a generosity problem. The people of Reno are generous people, but the problem only continues to get worse.

Technology will not solve this problem. We can 3D print houses, build tiny homes, use full size lego blocks, but at the end of the day, our generosity will only allow these innovative solutions to come to fruition on a small scale.

700 people are living in emergency shelters or on the streets in Washoe County. 4000 people are living in motels. Over a year ago, a third of Reno families were paying more in rent than what was considered affordable, and a majority of Washoe County residents could not afford a median priced home. In the year since that time, Reno saw the 4th fastest rising rents among U.S. cities, and Nevada ranks dead last in the country in providing affordable housing to low-income families.

We are at crisis levels. Our generosity and our technology may help ease the situation, but they will not solve our housing crisis. The problem is just too big.

This is a justice problem. We need to ensure that as a community we adequately invest in low-income and affordable housing.

This is going to require us to demand better solutions from the people who represent us. An immediate next step is to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to begin actually investing in low-income housing at the local level.

Thousands of Northern Nevadans have given up our nights to volunteer at the emergency shelter, gone to the shelter to share meals, and shown simple acts of kindness to our neighbors as we pass by them on the street. Our generosity has been immense.

It only takes three people from the Washoe County Commission to step up to create and fund an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. It’s time that these three people step up to do their fair share.

We cannot solve this on our own. Fill out a pledge card to show our commissioners that this is an issue that our community cares about. Ask your friends and neighbors to do so also. Help us get the people who care about these issues to the polls and help connect them with the people in power who make the decisions that affect our lives.

If you still want to do more, email us at aria@actionn.org to set-up a time to talk more about what you can do.

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