New Affordable Property Breaking Ground in Reno

Groundbreaking Ceremony For New Affordable Willie J. Wynn Apartments in Reno

At a groundbreaking ceremony held May 21, 2019, Reno Mayor Schieve thanked the many people and organizations involved in the Willie J. Wynn affordable housing project. Also speaking were Councilman Oscar Delgado, Jeff Jacobs of Jacobs Entertainment, Amy Jones of the Reno Housing Authority, and Pastor William John Wynn II along with Patricia Wynn-Tau, grandson and daughter of Willie J. Wynn.  Amongst those attending were the Nevada Housing Division Administrator, Stephen Aichroth, Councilman Reese, City of Reno, and Councilwoman Charlene Bybee, City of Sparks. 

The housing will provide 44 units of affordable senior housing with both one and two bedroom units planned. The new units will be across from the Reno Livestock Event Center and within walking distance of the Washoe County Senior Services Center. Twelve of the new units will be set aside for formerly homeless seniors or seniors coming out of long-term motels. A part-time Resident Service Coordinator will help coordinate both onsite and offsite supportive services as well as social activities. Indoor amenities will include a multi-purpose room with warming kitchen, library/lounge, computer lab, and game room, while outdoor amenities will include a barbeque area, horseshoe pit and raised beds for resident gardening. The property will be an Energy Star rated development with numerous energy saving appliances in use and photovoltaics providing about 10% of the electricity for the development.

Leasing is planned to begin in the spring of 2020. 

The apartment project is named after Reverand Willie Wynn, a former Reno Housing Authority board member. Pastor Willie Wynn, his grandson, gave background on his grandfather, who was the first African American cabinet member in the State of Nevada, appointed by Governor Paul Laxalt, and a Nevada Equal Rights Commissioner, appointed by Governor Richard Bryan. Pastor Wynn pointed out that his grandfather was passionate about "allow[ing] our seniors to age in peace." He explained that the property with the church where the project is planned was sold after the Foundation church had moved to a new location and they are happy it is going to be turned into affordable housing.

The speakers lauded the public-private partnerships that have made the project possible including Jacob's Entertainment, Wells Fargo, Praxis Consulting Group, Reno Housing Authority, the African American Clergy Council, Frame Architecture and Q & D Engineering. Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits were provided through the Nevada Housing Division competitive process while City of Reno provided a low-interest deferred loan through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program of the US Department of Housing And Urban Development. Also, Washoe County will be abating property taxes for the project. Projects that receive HOME funds are entitled to the property tax exemption so long as the property remains affordable.

Many of the speakers acknowledged that 44 units would not solve the affordable housing crisis in Reno given the magnitude of the need but were happy to see any new affordable housing resource being built.