Top headlines from the Board of County Commissioners Meeting

by | Jul 19, 2022

The following are highlights from today’s Washoe County Board of County Commissioners meeting:    

1. Board awards contract for medical services at the Nevada Cares Campus: The Nevada Cares Campus opened in May 2021 to meet basic needs in an emergency homeless shelter during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Washoe County assumed management of the campus in September 2021 and recognized a critical need for on-site medical services along with numerous improvements and support services. Washoe County is currently in Phase 2 of the campus construction, which will add new laundry facilities, bathrooms and showers, and dorm areas within the shelter to provide more privacy and security to participants. Mental health professionals and additional security personnel have been hired, and a new contract is in place with Volunteers of America to manage the daily operations.

The on-site medical services are intended to reduce emergency response calls to the Nevada Cares Campus while also providing participants with needed medical resources. The Board of County Commissioners today approved a contract with MedHealth LLC (DBA MedTrust LLC) to provide basic medical care for people experiencing homelessness at the Nevada Cares Campus Emergency Shelter beginning Aug. 1, 2022, through Aug. 14, 2023, for an amount not to exceed $519,914.  

“There are several medical partners on site at the campus,” Housing and Homeless Services Manager Dana Searcy, said. “One of the challenges that we’re finding is that you need insurance in order to work with them, so this bridges that gap allowing for some immediate emergency triage care so we can stabilize individuals while they’re working with case managers to get on insurance and get them transferred to one of our partners and set up with primary care.”

2. Board approves grant to fund new positions through Northern Nevada HOPES: The Washoe County Department of Alternative Sentencing received a state grant for its Support in Treatment, Accountability, and Recovery (STAR) Program, which was unanimously approved by the Board today. The $440,000 grant from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services will fund four new full-time positions: one alternative sentencing officer, one mental health counselor II, one case manager, and one grants coordinator. The funding will also cover two part-time peer-support specialists contracted through Northern Nevada HOPES, and program training costs and operating expenses. The grant approval is retroactive to April 1, 2022, and will continue through February 2023.

The STAR Program was developed over the last year to provide probationers and pre-trial releasees with the wrap-around support necessary to address foundational causes of opioid use and criminal behaviors. STAR Program participants engage in medication-assisted treatment in partnership with the Northern Nevada HOPES clinic and other community-based treatment providers, one-on-one counseling, weekly education and development programs that include guest speakers, job recruiters, and open forum discussions between participants and the STAR team to promote positive support and connection between law enforcement, treatment providers, and the participants. 

Commissioner Bob Lucey commended presenters Chief Justin Roper and Deputy Andrew Sherbondy, both with the Department of Alternative Sentencing.

“You have done a phenomenal job… People make challenging decision in their lives, but it’s the two of you in your department that really allow for that reemergence into society in a positive manner. It’s through this type of process that we will help them, and I couldn’t be more supportive of this.”

3. Commission awards District Special Funds to Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation: Chair Vaughn Hartung allocated $20,000 from the District 4 Special Funds to support the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation (NNCCF). NNCCF provides emotional and financial support for approximately 120 local children fighting cancer. The funding covers needs such as medical, household, educational and travel expenses related to cancer treatment.

“This is not about me so much as it is about the commission supporting these kinds of efforts in the community. When you have a sick child, you go into fight mode and you don’t know which way to turn, you’re focused on trying to get that child well,” Hartung said. “I think we’re called to do these kinds of things for our community because this is really about our community and people in our community who are in the struggle of their lives.  

4. Board accepts numerous donations to Washoe County departments and programs: The Board today approved the receipt of donations from residents and community groups to support county programs, including:

  • Various gift donations at an estimated value of approximately $2,500 from the Reno Rodeo Foundation in support of the Second Judicial District Court’s Reading Room Project  

“I can’t tell you how impactful this is for so many of these children who are going through our courts,” Commissioner Bob Lucey said. “This gives them an opportunity to get away from their family problems and spend some time in a peaceful room at our Second Judicial Court.”  

  • Various items including clothing, toys, blankets, food, and funding to the Washoe County Human Services Agency. The donations included $2,140 from the Donated Juror Fees, a program in which jurors may donate their fees to Child Protective Services.  
  • 300 backpacks, notebooks and supplies valued at $12,000 from Henry Schein Inc. to Washoe County Human Services Agency  
  • Advanced Containment Systems mobile decontamination shower trailer valued at $104,000 from the Washoe County Honorary Deputies Association to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division