By Kayana M. Cobb, Esq.
In 2023, Nevada State legislators estimated that roughly 7,000 Nevadans were actively experiencing homelessness, and/or desperately need aﬀordable housing with supportive services. Countless organizations in Nevada work tirelessly, and often collaboratively among government and non-proﬁts or other charitable organizations to ameliorate the state’s tremendous problem with the lack of aﬀordable housing available to many Nevadans. At NLS, we provide services in an eﬀort to address the housing shortage by defending clients against evictions, sealing eviction records, providing resources and referrals for housing and rental assistance. However, the fact remains that many of these resources either do not exist or are severely strained to accommodate more need than the resources can realistically meet.
The phrase that is on the rise, “Supportive Housing,” refers to an evidence-based intervention strategy that can address this need but requires dedicated funding to support its development. There may be an air of hope for the new year due to a new bill that went into eﬀect on January 1,2024, and puts almost
$35 million in funding and tangible strategy into supportive housing initiatives. Assembly Bill No. 310 articulates important components of supportive housing and charges the Housing Division of the Department of Business and Industry with certain duties relating to low-income housing and aﬀ ordable housing, including creating a statewide low-income housing database and administering the Account for Aﬀ ordable Housing. (NRS 319.143, 319.500)
AB310 formally creates the Nevada Supportive Housing Development Fund in the State Treasury and makes an appropriation to the Fund to implement the supportive housing grant program. The program must include a process for applying for a grant to: (1) procure and develop supportive housing; (2) train and build the capacity of a supportive housing partnership; (3) fund the operation of a supportive housing partnership; and (4) analyze the progress of supportive housing in this State. It also requires the Division to: (1) consult with the Nevada Interagency Advisory Council on Homelessness to Housing before approving any application for a grant to procure and develop supportive housing; (2) adopt regulations to carry out the grant program which must include the criteria for eligibility to receive money and procedures for the submission and review of applications; and (3) annually report certain information about the grant program to the Chair of the Nevada Interagency Advisory Council on Homelessness to Housing, the Governor and the Director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.
One concern is the caveat of this being subject the “availability of funds,” which could leave us back where we started if funds dry up. Nonetheless, at NLS we are optimistic for this initiative, as only time will reveal the success of these eﬀorts to provide relief to our unhoused population in the year ahead.