Public assistance in Washoe County Nevada

The leading government organization that offers public assistance is the Washoe County Department of Social Services. The agency can help low income and struggling families, as well as the disabled and seniors, access social services and government aid that ranges from rent assistance to food and energy bill help. Details on the resources available to qualified individuals are below. Or call 775.328.2700.

Washoe County Section 8 Rental Assistance is run by the Reno Housing Authority, which partners with the county. There are two different main options for low income people who are struggling with paying their rent and obtaining housing. They include the Housing Choice Voucher Program as well as section 8. Both of them provide subsidies and vouchers to landlords on behalf of low income renters. The vouchers are used to pay rent and provide housing for qualified families across Washoe County Nevada. The housing authority can be reached at 775.329.3630.

Over 2000 families use the section 8 housing vouchers to pay their rent and housing costs. Many are low income families with children and/or seniors who live on social security or fixed incomes. Typical families and individuals who are assisted under the section 8 program are families with only one individual working or single parent families who are unable to pay market rents without public assistance. The term Section 8 is a broad term that is used to describe the various housing programs that are primarily paid for by the federal government, but administered by your local state or county.

Reno Housing Authority also runs the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which is a component of section 8. This publicly funded resource will allow renters to use vouchers to pay their rent and they can select whatever neighborhood or apartment they wish from private landlords, provided the apartment meets government guidelines. Many participants of the housing voucher program will also take advantage of the portability feature of the program to transfer to other housing units or even other parts of Nevada or the country.

Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services are administered by Washoe County Department of Social Services. The government organization can provide cash payments to pay for the cremation or burial costs for a deceased indigent person. There are conditions that need to be met, and in order to qualify for funeral assistance individuals must be a non-Nevada resident who fell ill and died within Washoe County or a Washoe County resident. Applicants will also need to meet all other financial and non-financial requirements for their household size in order to qualify.





Washoe County Adult Social Services also partners with the Community Assistance Center. The location and center also provides low income and seniors with information on public assistance and social work services that are available to assist individuals who are homeless or on the verge of eviction. Residents can obtain resources, information on rental and security deposit assistance and case management.

The housing resources at the Community Assistance Center are made up of three primary shelters, which include a Triage Center, Men’s Women’s and Family Shelter, and the CIT office. The CIT office is an outreach for homeless, and will help connect clients with resources, e.g. shelter care, medical care, rental subsidies. The men’s and woman’s shelter is a 30-day emergency placement location, and extensions are possible depending on the person’s personal circumstances. The Triage Center is a short-term stabilization center, and can provide detox too.

Residents who need help with utility bills can be referred to energy assistance from Washoe County Adult Social Services. The primary service is the low income home energy assistance program, LIHEAP. Grants can help pay bills and also offer energy conservation from such resource as weatherization.

Information on food assistance can be provided by the social service office. Get information on, and help applying for, public assistance programs such as SNAP food stamps, WIC, or just information on local Washoe County food pantries.




By Jon McNamara

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