Expect some major improvements to Reno's temporary overflow homeless shelter. 

Although the temporary facility, located on Washington Street, has been open for more than a year, the lack of running water and sewer access means it only has the most basic of accommodations--a bed and four walls. People who stay at the shelter have had to use portable restrooms located outside of the building. 

Elaine Wiseman, manager of the Housing and Neighborhood Development department says, "The City of Reno doesn't want another winter to go by where people are having to walk outdoors to use the restroom."

Wednesday, city council authorized a contract for up to $318,000 to make necessary improvements. Most importantly, this includes the addition of two indoor, ADA compliant restrooms, running water, upgraded heating and cooling units, and hookups for a washer and dryer. It also allows for other electrical and mechanical improvements.

The council previously approved the money for these improvements in 2016 as part of the Housing and Urban Development plan (HUD). The funds will come from the community development block grant fund. 

The city hopes to start working on the improvements within the next couple of weeks. If everything goes according to planned, Wiseman says the shelter will be fully functional by the end of December. 

As for the long run, the city does have a plan in place for a more permanent overflow shelter. Council recently approved a possible location on Sage Street. City staff is currently vetting that site to make sure its a viable option. They hope to have that project completed within the next two years.

To see the full staff report on temporary overflow improvements from Wednesday night's city council meeting, click here.