homelessness in our region:

What is Safe Camp? 

Safe Camp is a housing referral focused program that provides a secure location for people currently experiencing homelessness. This program model reduces the environmental, public health and safety concerns of unregulated encampments by providing basic services such as restrooms, handwashing, and trash disposal facilities in addition to case management, service referrals and housing placements. Each Safe Camp participant is provided with two meals a day, snacks and drinking water.  Initially all participants were provided with a tent and a cot, but as the team continued to assess this pilot program, the decision to transition away from tents to individual ModPods was made late fall 2021. Now every participant is admitted to a ModPod. 

Where is Safe Camp? 

Safe Camp is currently located on a parcel on East 4th Street in Reno, Nevada, at the top of the former Governor’s Bowl baseball field, along Line Drive. The field is undergoing construction, and when it is completed, the camp will move into the field with expanded capacity and more privacy for participants. 

When did Safe Camp open? 

The temporary site opened and began moving participants in on June 17, 2021.  A structured move-in process was utilized so all participants’ needs could be met and that any potential issues with a new facility would be addressed as they came up rather than at full capacity. The tentative opening date for the long-term site will be shared as soon as it becomes available. 

How many participants will Safe Camp hold? 

The temporary site pilot program had capacity for 44 tents. As Washoe County has transitioned to ModPods, there are 45 ModPods currently installed. The program will expand to around 50 ModPods when the camp moves into the long-term site in the former Governor’s Field.  

Are there rules to live at Safe Camp? 

As Safe Camp is not a permanent destination, all participants must agree to actively pursue stable housing while they are staying at Safe Camp. A contracted case manager is provided by Washoe County to provide housing focused case management services to all Safe Camp participants to ensure they transition to stable housing as soon as possible. 

Participant expectations have been developed to maintain a safe environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Safe Camp follows a low-barrier, harm-reduction model to be as inclusive as possible. Weapons, drugs and alcohol aren’t allowed onsite at the Safe Camp and if a participant is found with drugs or alcohol they will be asked to dispose of the items or take them offsite.  Fires are not allowed at Safe Camp.   

Participants can bring any items that will fit inside the ModPod provided and additional storage of  belongings is available as capacity allows.  

Who runs Safe Camp? 

Safe Camp is a Washoe County program with an established full-time staff member to oversee the administration of  Safe Camp. Additionally, Washoe County entered into a temporary contract with Karma Box Project, a nonprofit organization, to operate the temporary facility and will then seek proposals for operations of the long-term facility through a competitive procurement process.  


How is Safe Camp connected to the Nevada Cares Campus? 

The Nevada Cares Campus is a campus offering emergency shelter for people currently experiencing homelessness. The campus will be expanding to provide additional programs and services on site to support this vulnerable population. Safe Camp is adjacent to the campus but is operated  independently from the emergency shelter. The purpose of Safe Camp is to provide a secure location for those who are not comfortable sleeping in a group shelter due to trauma or other factors.  It is intentionally situated near the campus and its services, but separate to allow for privacy and space. 

Proximity to transportation was a key consideration for the Safe Camp location. Safe Camp is 0.2 miles away from the nearest bus stop location at the intersection of Sixth and Fourth streets. This bus stop provides access to the Fourth Street bus station, a key hub for bus transportation in our area. 

What is the admission process and criteria for Safe Camp? 

Safe Camp is designed to be as low-barrier as possible while maintaining the safety of all participants. Couples and single adults 18 years of age and older are eligible for Safe Camp. Sobriety is not a requirement for admission to Safe Camp. While pets are accommodated at the temporary Safe Camp, the number of pets is limited due to the limited amount of space at the temporary location. Washoe County is working with partner organizations that are actively  engaged in outreach to the homeless population to distribute applications to move into Safe Camp. At this time, walk-ups are not allowed.  

Admission Criteria 

To be eligible, the person must be willing to work toward a housing plan and be able to manage their own activities of daily living.  A simple application form has been developed that asks the bare minimum amount of information needed to be able to make an admission decision and ensure the person meets the minimum criteria and that Safe Camp can meet the needs of the participant. 

Pilot Partners 

  • Given that this is a pilot program, we are distributing and collecting applications through pilot partners to pilot the application process. 
  • Applications are ONLY distributed to pilot partners, who are the only people that can submit an application on someone’s behalf, however, any community member can work with a pilot partner to get an application submitted. 

Pilot partners include 

  • Eddy House 
  • Health Plan of Nevada 
  • City of Reno – Clean and Safe Program  
  • Safe Camp Case Manager 
  • Karma Box Project 
  • Volunteers of America (Restart Outreach)
  • Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality (RISE)
  • Veterans Affairs – Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV)
  • Downtown Reno Partnership

Application Review 

  • Pilot partners engage in reviewing the list of applications and assist in the development of the approved participant list. 
  • Pilot partners assist in determining ideal move in dates and existing community groups that may desire to be placed in groupings in close proximity and/or have corresponding move in dates. 

What are the amenities and services at Safe Camp? 

  • Safe Camp participants are provided with a ModPod in a specific location within Safe Camp.   
  • Participants are invited to bring any possessions that can fit within their assigned ModPod. Safe storage of additional belongings is accommodated as capacity allows 
  • Staffing and security personnel are on site 24 hours per day.  
  • There is a shaded area with tables, benches and cooling misters.  
  • Restroom, handwashing and trash disposal facilities are provided. 
  • There is a charging station for electronic devices. 
  • Meals, snacks, and beverages are provided by the Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada and the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.  
  • There is unlimited drinking water available on site.  
  • A case manager assists each participant to work toward stable housing and provide one-on-one coaching through the housing process.  
  • Vehicle and RV parking is not available in the Safe Camp location. 

The images, branding and logos presented in our Washoe County Press Kits have been published for the expressed use for members of the media. If you are not a member of the media, please contact communications@washoecounty.gov to receive permission to use these materials.

Use of Washoe County’s brand or logos is prohibited without permission, including any material that implies endorsement by Washoe County government, its officials, or employees or deceiving the public into thinking their communication originates from Washoe County.   Please note that Works prepared for the government by independent contractors may be protected by copyright. The copyrights may be owned by the independent contractor or by the U.S. government. Not everything that appears on our website is a government work. Content may be protected intellectual property used with the rights holder’s permission.