The Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality (RISE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Reno, Nevada that works closely with the city’s homeless population. The group, whose Executive Director is Ben Castro, hopes to cultivate a greater sense of dignity and humility by providing equal access for the Reno’s poor to shelter, knowledge, and opportunity. Reno Friends Meeting has provided meals for the homeless through RISE in the past, but since COVID, many of the programs that serve the homeless in Reno have undergone changes.
Here is an edited version of the May 2021 Report from the RFM liaison Steve Wolgast:
RISE Report (notes from Board Meeting 5/6/21)
- Ben reported that the budget is roughly “on target”.
- RISE has $29,000 from donations
- Our Place has $91,000 from the county contract
- Living Room has $11,000 for rent and case management for June.
RISE “Living Room”
The Tri-plex now has 7 adults and 4 children. It is intended for families that need short-term support. Residents mostly get along. There are two bedrooms vacant. The county recently donated $5,000 from a discretionary account. RISE has had good relations with the property manager. If RISE can’t continue to support it, the residents may be able to take over the payments.
The board unanimously approved getting a formal audit for the period 5/1/20 through 5/1/2021 which includes the entire period that RISE managed Our Place under county contract.
The board decided not to get separate accounts for the county finances and the other RISE finances. The problem is that the county wants to be billed at the end of the month and then have 30 days to pay. The RISE funds cover the “float”. The county has made some payments in advance but does not want to continue this. The CPA that supports RISE recommends keeping the one account.
- RISE is eager to have volunteers available to help at Our Place and for other activities.
- The volunteers fall into two categories: individuals and groups. These require different organization.
- There is concern to start quickly since there are still pandemic concerns and there is construction going on on-site.
- Should volunteers be required to get the vaccination?
- The website needs to be updated and could include information and sign-up sheets for volunteers.
- The board decided to bring back a few familiar volunteers to start after June 1 and to expand the role of volunteers as the coordination is established.
- RISE will join the Nevada Housing Coalition that does advocacy and lobbying. It will cost RISE $120 a year.
- Ben would like to have a barbeque at Our Place on May 15 to celebrate the first anniversary of RISE management.
- Lisa Lee resigned from the board to avoid any conflict of interest as she starts her new job with Washoe County.
- Victoria Choi was nominated and approved to serve on the board.
If you have something you’d like to donate, email Kim (at) RenoInitiative.org for instructions on how deliver your donation, or you can bring your item to Sunday Silent Worship and Rhonda Ashurst can deliver it to the home of RISE Ex. Dir. Ben Castro for you. The Meeting has been making a monthly financial contribution to RISE. If you would like to help by donating funds, please send a donation to the Meeting Co-Treasurer, Katie Dwyer, at 40 Arbor Oak Court, Reno, NV 89509-6887.
~ Steve Wolgast, Reno Friends Meeting RISE Liaison