Incline Village takes a different approach to housing
Nayeli Enriquez will soon have to pay $ 2,000 a month for her two-bedroom apartment in Incline Village.
The apartment is rotting, which worries her because her daughter has asthma. The mother of two and a resident of Incline Village for over 30 years has lived in the apartment for eight years and her rent was previously $ 800. She now has two jobs to make ends meet.
When Enriquez complained about the mold, she said the owner used green duct tape to cover it.
“We were hoping there would be housing for low income people, but there is no housing… a lot of people are moving to Reno or Carson,” Enriquez said. “We are losing a lot of people. If you walk around town, everyone is hiring because there is a shortage of people… the rent goes up by a thousand dollars more and people just can’t afford it, especially for families ”,
Enriquez said residents of Incline have started to feel the effects of the housing crisis in their daily life in the city.
“A lot of people are stressed out at Raley’s because … there aren’t a lot of people (working) … there are a lot of people who say ‘the wait for our restaurant was awful.’ “There are only two waiters, and there are only two cooks. Well, a lot of cooks and waiters and buses are gone.
Indra Winquest, general manager of the Incline Village General Improvement District, said the district had limited autonomy in the face of the housing crisis on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe – the remaining question of whether the district had the power to buy housing for the workforce.
Winquest said community members asked why the district hasn’t gone to great lengths to purchase housing for the workforce.
“Frankly, we didn’t go that route,” Winquest said. “I don’t necessarily believe that’s part of our mission. It’s unfortunate, but if we were to do something like this we would be spending a lot of public money, and I’m not sure if that’s something the district should be responsible for. We are really trying to work with the nonprofits and the county.
“We’re part of the process, of the discussion, but we don’t necessarily have the skills to do a lot of what others may be able to do. “
In early 2019, the district was offered the former Incline Elementary School for purchase by the Washoe County School District for $ 2 million – which District President Tim Callicrate said could have potentially be used for housing local labor. However, the board of directors at the time declined the offer.
Winquest said the Tahoe Prosperity Center had done much of the work to help start the conversation about finding solutions to the housing crisis in Incline Village. TPC works with a network of regional businesses and nonprofits to collect data and catalyze discussions on solutions to problems around the lake. Housing is currently a high priority for the organization.
While the center kicks off the conversation about housing on the Nevada side, it is not, in fact, a dedicated housing resource for the Incline Village and Crystal Bay communities, such as organizations like Landing Locals.
“It’s a common misconception that we are a housing service provider,” said Chase Janvrin, program manager for the Tahoe Prosperity Center. “We’re really trying to bring people together to discuss it. “
The center recently published a housing assessment titled “Washoe Tahoe Local Employee Housing Needs and Opportunities”, conducted by WSW Consulting. He believes that this is the first step in finding a solution.
“… We know that housing is a problem, but we have to be able to quantify it,” Janvrin said. “How much housing is needed, what kind of housing, at what price, what size, how many rooms – that sort of thing. And then, what are the specific drivers of the problem and how can they be addressed? “
“Whatever goals the community wishes to see, we are happy to help however we can… nothing will happen without the participation of the community,” he added. “Whatever the community wants, it has to come from the community. “
According to Janvrin, there are currently no dedicated resources for workforce housing in the community. As it is, tangible, dedicated local housing resources like Sierra Community House and Landing Locals can only work in California, as they are not licensed in Nevada, so their services cannot be offered on that side.
Regarding solutions, Janvrin thinks it would be useful to have an agency to put residents in touch with housing, as well as other short-term solutions.
“I think most people think about building new buildings and I think it’s important to realize that you can’t get out of this problem. There are so many different things that need to be addressed… it takes years to build a new affordable housing complex… I think the short term could be things like incentive programs to open second homes. said Janvrin.
Elizabeth White is an editor for the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of the Tribune. She can be contacted at [email protected]