North Tahoe leaders discuss issues facing communities and residents
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – Local leaders from nonprofits, agencies, educators, churches and service clubs gathered Wednesday, April 13 to discuss complex issues 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, Pet Network staff, representatives of IVGID, etc.
“It was truly gratifying today to see our leaders come together with our local IVGID government, our non-profit organizations, our service providers like Sierra Community House, Boys and Girls Club, Tahoe Family Solutions, as well as our community confessional,” Offerdahl said after the three-hour summit. “These big problems [facing the community], there are no more “they”. From now on, it is a collective “we” that will try to solve these bigger problems.
Several groups were brought together to address the main branches of the community, which included education and child care, housing and food, family services, health and well-being, security, services to adults and the elderly.
Through group activities and open communication, leaders identified the many challenges facing the community, the highest priority being the increasingly stressful housing crisis affecting everyone in the basin and the shortage growing number of employees.
Another topic of conversation that came up often during the discussions included the need for clearer communication not only between agencies, but also with community members about available services and ongoing projects.
One of the issues leaders are facing is the way Incline Village, Crystal Bay and Kings Beach are zoned. Additionally, Washoe County encompasses all of Reno and Sparks as well as other unincorporated areas, which means that more resources for housing and homelessness are currently being allocated down the mountain.
“I think one of the most important things is that we need to start building connections around who’s doing what,” said Washoe County Health and Human Services Director Amber Howell. “I think these forums are good because you can figure out who’s dealing with child custody issues, who’s dealing with ‘I have a child that I don’t think is safe’ and of an elderly person who needs a meal. So I think those connections, we just need to build bridges because we’re only a hill away, and we can do a lot of things together. I think there are services, but we just don’t make the connection.
Howell has worked with Washoe County on our campus, which is located in the county. The campus offers services including housing for all ages, access to food and counseling, and access to the community.
It has been identified that due to the lack of rental housing availability and affordability, more than half of the workers in the basin have started to commute from outside the basin and created a huge need not only for hire new workers, but also retain them for the long haul.
Multiple solutions to housing and staffing issues were suggested during the summit’s last exercise, but Offerdahl and all in attendance know that this was only the first step in a long process to fully recharge and revive communities.
“We all need to support the Washoe Tahoe Housing Partnership, which is the beginning of developing action plans around the most important issue identified by this group, which is housing,” Offerdahl said. “A lot of networking will happen individually, and we will come together again in different formats in this group, and probably summit 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 exclusivity of Washoe Tahoe communities creates problems in attracting employees and has in turn reduced services and their overall quality, among a long list of problems in the region.
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 tiltvillagecrystalbay.com.