Low-Income Housing Project Rising in Reno - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Low-Income Housing Project Rising in Reno

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An introduction to the now-under construction “Juniper Village.” The new apartment units will be rented to those who earn below 40% of Reno’s median income, adjusted for family size. It will be home to veterans, folks on Social Security, the disabled and workers making a low wage…a close-to $6 million project that's a remedy for them, and Reno's still-too-quiet construction industry. In the middle of the building madness, Matthew Fleming of the Northern Nevada Community Housing Resource Board pointed out, “architects, engineers, framers, concrete guys, the dirt guys that are working here now…they're all here."

But for Fleming, this project is personal. He grew up in Reno, and knows all too much about families barely getting by. On this site, he thinks about his own upbringing: "My family wasn't wealthy, and I saw what impact came from living in places that were not very desirable."

Demand is still high for low-income housing. As apartment rents rise, more families need affordable shelter. Even at this stage, there are people on the Juniper Village waiting list. Mike Dang of the Nevada Department of Business and Industry told us, “There definitely are people waiting, and with this economy it only makes that demand deeper."

So by early next year, the 44 new apartments will be open there on 5th street by the Wells overpass. The old fire station is right across the street…it's now a bagel restaurant and a salon. Juniper Village will be walking distance to a casino, a church, the shops on east 4th Street and also those on Wells Avenue. Fleming points out that it’s “close to bus routes, close to services, the places they can walk out to without a vehicle and get to where they need to get their food, their services, medical attention…everything.”

All near the things low-income renters need. But the look of this project will be different...with solar panels to keep residents' power bills down, a library, outside play area, internet and computer center…and a very modern design. Don Lieberman of Sunseri Construction told us why that in itself is important: "In the 1950's and 60's, the style of affordable housing, Section 8 housing, well, it was very much institutional-looking. With this, they're going to feel a bit special."

Matthew Fleming knows what that means. His goal here? "I want to provide them with something better than what I had."

-written by John Potter

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