Inside look at the Village on Sage Street, Reno's newest affordable housing non-profit

Click the video above for an overview of the Village on Sage Street, a non-profit affordable housing development incepted by TDC and Gorelick Real Estate Advisors in coordination with the Community Foundation of Western Nevada and Volunteers of America.


"This is a game changer - this truly is a game changer," said Reno City Councilwoman Neoma Jardon of the project.

Sometimes great ideas come out of the middle of nowhere. In this case, the badlands of Wyoming.

Local developers and real estate developers Alison Gorelick and Par Tolles got word of a unique solution to Reno's affordable housing problem sitting in the tapped-out natural gas fields north of Rock Springs.

"There were in terrific condition, they were extremely well-built and we thought these could be great for Reno for 30 or more years to come," said Gorelick.

These modular living units were brought to Reno and a team was put together to turn these empty steel boxes into a community.

"We needed to have a team - again - both on the public and the private side that are willing to contribute hours and money to really see something all the way through," said Tolles.

"It speaks to sort of the innovation that Reno is carrying on," said Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve.

A major player is the Community Foundation of Western Nevada who led fundraising efforts and agreed to serve as developer of the project. The City of Reno donated the land and the Volunteers of America agreed to run the facility once it opened.

After more than a year of Community Foundation-led meetings, fundraising, planning and construction, the Village on Sage Street is now open. It's first resident: Shannon Vanostrand.

"I was going to be out on the street until this opportunity came up, so I was thankful for it - grateful for it," said Vanostrand.

Shannon is part of a growing segment of society - hardworking people with limited wages, always having to scale a rising wall of rising rent. For those in this seemingly endless climb, the Village on Sage is now there offering a hand-up, not a hand-out.

Residents here pay just $400 per month, including utilities.

"We just kept coming back to $400 a month is what most working-poor could afford," said Gorelick.

"For fairly low cost, we've found a way to help hundreds of people who are in a desperate situation," said Mike Kazmierski, President and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.

At the grand opening of the Village on Sage Street, Chris Askin with the Community Foundation of Western Nevada noted "This is something we thought 'we can do it,' and now we did it."

The idea, the donors, an innovative city willing to take a risk on a new idea, and the countless helping hands along the way turned the Village on Sage Street into a partnership of pride that will produce hope for decades to come.


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