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County rejects bids for homeless shelter
by Joshua H. Silavent
Aug 24, 2011 | 1475 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO — The Washoe Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday formally rejected all bids for the operation of the Community Assistance Center (CAC) and homeless shelter on Record Street, marking the end of a process marred in controversy.

The move also signals the start of a new request-for-proposal process to determine whether Volunteers of America (VOA) or Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada (CCNN) will run the shelter in the years to come.

In late May, a multi-jurisdictional committee of Washoe County, Sparks, Reno and Reno Area Assistance representatives voted 4-2 to award an operations contract to CCNN based on a number of criteria, including references and available funding. But officials with VOA, the nonprofit that currently operates the shelter, protested and the process stalled.

A decision was further delayed when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it was implementing a shift in its homeless services policy.

HUD’s new regulations reflect a shift of resources away from indefinite sheltering of the homeless toward finding rapid, permanent housing assistance.

Failure to comply with these changes could jeopardize nearly $5 million in federal funding for local homelessness and housing programs, including community development block grants and continuity-of-care grants.

The Washoe County Commission and Sparks City Council have now extended a cooperative agreement with VOA to continue operating the shelter until Jan. 31, 2012. The Reno City Council is expected to do the same today.

A transitional governing board has been formed to oversee the new bidding war and is expected to make a decision in December.
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