North Tahoe leaders discuss issues facing communities, residents
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Local leaders of nonprofits, agencies, educators, churches, and services clubs joined together on Wednesday, April 13, to discuss the complex issues that are facing the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.
The Washoe Tahoe Community Collaborative Summit, hosted by Incline Village Crystal Bay Community and Business Association Executive Director Linda Offerdahl, brought together leaders at the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation building in Incline Village.
Those in attendance included representatives from Washoe County, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Sierra Community House, educators including Incline High School Principal Tierney Cahill, staff from Pet Network, IVGID representatives, and more.
“It was really gratifying today to see our leadership come together with our local IVGID government, our nonprofits, our service providers like Sierra Community House, Boys and Girls Club, Tahoe Family Solutions, along with our faith based community,” said Offerdahl following the three hour summit. “Those big issues [facing the community], there is no longer a ‘they.’ Now it is a collective ‘us’ that will try to address these greater issues.”
Multiple groups were tabled together to address the core branches of the community, which included education and childcare, housing and food, family services, health and wellness, safety, adult and senior services.
Through group activities and open communication, leaders identified the many challenges that are facing the community, the highest priority including the increasingly stressful housing crisis that is affecting everyone in the basin, and the growing employee shortage.
Another topic of conversation that came up often during discussions included the need for more clear communication not only between agencies, but to community members on services available and projects that are currently in the works.
One of the issues leaders are facing is the way Incline Village, Crystal Bay, and Kings Beach is zoned. Additionally, Washoe County encompasses all of Reno and Sparks along with other unincorporated areas, meaning more resources for housing and homelessness are currently being allocated down the mountain.
“I think one of the most important things is that we have to start making some connections about who does what,” said Washoe County Health and Human Services Director Amber Howell. “I think these forums are good because you can figure out who deals with childcare issues, who deals with ‘I have a child who I think is unsafe,’ and a senior who needs a meal. So I think those connections, we just need to bridge because we’re only a hill away, and we can do a lot together. I think there’s services, but we’re just not making the connection.”
Howell has been working with Washoe County on Our Campus, which is located in the county. The campus provides services including housing for all ages, access to food and counseling, and access to community.
It was identified that due to lack of availability and affordability of rental housing, over half the workers in the basin have begun to commute to from outside the basin, and have created a huge need not only for hiring new workers, but retaining them for the long haul.
Multiple solutions for housing and staffing issues were suggested during the last exercise of the summit, but Offerdahl and all of the participants know that this was only the first step in a long process to completely recharge and revive the communities.
“We all need to get behind the Washoe Tahoe Housing Partnership, which is the beginning to form action plans around the largest problem identified by this group, which was housing,” said Offerdahl. “Individually, much networking will happen, and we will reconvene in different formats in this group, and probably do summits once a year.”
The Washoe Tahoe Housing Partnership was created by the Tahoe Prosperity Center and resulted in the Washoe Tahoe Housing Needs Assessment for the Incline Village and Crystal Bay areas.
The assessment identified that the exclusiveness of the Washoe Tahoe communities is creating issues with attracting employees and have in turn reduced services and their overall quality, among a long list of issues in the area.
Leaders are now excited to move forward together to increase communication all around and find solutions for their communities.
To learn more about the IVCBA, visit inclinevillagecrystalbay.com.
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