homelessness in our region:
What is Safe Camp?
The 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 a tent and cot, two meals a day, snacks and drinking water.
Where is Safe Camp?
Safe Camp is currently located on a parcel on East 4th St., 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 has capacity for 44 tents. It will expand to around 50 tents when the camp moves into the long-term site in the former Governor’s Field.
Are there rules to live at Safe Camp?
As the 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 also 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. The 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 the Safe Camp.
Participants can bring any items that will fit inside the tent provided and additional storage of belongings is available as capacity allows.
Who runs Safe Camp?
Safe Camp is a Washoe County program and has established a full-time staff person to oversee the administration of the Safe Camp. Additionally, Washoe County entered into a temporary contract with the Karma Box Project 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 and it 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 the Safe Camp is to provide a secure camping 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. The 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 will be eligible to stay at the safe camp. Sobriety will not be a requirement for admission to the 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 groups 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.
- 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 very 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.
- Given this is a pilot program, we will be distributing and collecting applications through pilot partners to pilot the application process.
- Applications will ONLY be 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
- Washoe County MOST team
- City of Reno – Clean and Safe Program
- Safe Camp Case Manager
- Karma Box Project
- VOA Outreach
- Pilot partners will be engaged to review the list of applications and assist in the development of the approved participant list.
- Pilot partners will assist in determining ideal move in dates and existing community groups that may desire to be placed in tent 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 tent and a cot to sleep on in a specific location within the Safe Camp.
- Participants are invited to bring any possessions that can fit within their assigned tent. Safe storage of additional belongings is being 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.