YIMBY of Northern Nevada

From HousingWiki

The mission of YIMBY of Northern Nevada is to mobilize our neighbors seeking quality housing.
(7 minute read)

YIMBY of Northern Nevada is a project of Regenesis Reno. Our mission is to co-create a regenerative culture in the five-county region of Greater Reno. The five counties include Washoe, Carson, Douglas, Lyon and Storey. Our company is seeking funding from individuals and from local organizations looking for a way to help current and residents find quality housing.

YIMBY is an acronym for Yes in My Back Yard, coined in contrast to NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard). Those of us in the rapidly growing YIMBY movement across the country include people who welcome more neighbors into our communities and strongly believe our neighborhoods should be for everyone.

Whether you were born and raised here or if you’ve moved from Cupertino, Michigan or Guatemala, you should be able to achieve your full potential in Northern Nevada. You should have access to good quality schools, access to good jobs and, crucially, be able to live in quality housing.

YIMBY members can join a waiting list for attainable quality housing we will maintain and grow to include thousands of our neighbors. To sign up now click HERE.

Ours is an inclusive vision of welcoming all new and potential residents. Anyone who wants to should be able to own or rent financially attainable quality housing.

Greater Reno is growing very rapidly
December 2014 October 2018 Average increase per year
Residents 598,639 635,475 9,306
Households 237,040 251,399 3,628
Jobs 353,140 400,339 11,924

Build more housing

  • We strongly support building new housing. We have a severe housing shortage.
  • If we continue to add 10,000 residents per year in Greater Reno and only add 4,000 housing units per year, the shortage will continue.
  • Increasing supply will lower prices for all.
  • If we want to lower housing prices and rents, we must build more than 4,000 housing units per year. It’s that simple.
  • We should build more housing in every neighborhood — from low-income through high-income neighborhoods.
  • We do not oppose building large, free-standing single family detached developments for all income levels. Many of our neighbors prefer to live in these outlying areas.
  • Many other neighbors want to live in high density housing with high-quality public transit and walkability. We don’t have to wait. Housing can be built before or in anticipation of the construction of future transit improvements.
  • The people most hurt by a housing shortage are those with the least means.
  • It’s time to embrace Missing Middle Housing -- housing with anywhere from two to fifty units. This means duplexes, townhomes and small apartment complexes. It's called “missing” because in Greater Reno and most cities it's hard to find and zoning is not there to support it.

Setting a goal by the numbers

  • Our goal is to keep housing costs for owners and renters at or below 30% of gross income and combined housing and transportation costs below 45%. Households with costs above these two thresholds are considered burdened.
  • For the 74% of households in Greater Reno with less than $100,000 income, the goal is to bring combined housing and transportation to 45% of income for the majority.
  • As solutions to our housing crisis roll out, the 26% of households in Greater Reno with more than $100,000 income will have an opportunity to drive their combined housing and transportation costs well below 45%. This will be especially true for the 6% of our neighbors living in households with more than $200,000 income.
  • For 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has set 100% of Average Median Income (AMI) in Washoe County for a four-person household at $73,500.
  • We use HUD's definition of workforce housing as attainable for households earning between 80% ($58,800) and 120% ($88,200) of AMI with total housing costs not exceeding 30% of gross income.
  • We also use HUD's definition of affordable housing as attainable for households below 80% of AMI ($58,800).
  • It is important to understand public subsidies such as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) are only available to households with less than 60% of AMI ($44,100).
  • Public housing is only available for households below 50% of AMI ($36,750 for a 4-person household and $25,750 for a 1-person household). A full-time single earner living alone needs to make less than $12.38 per hour to qualify. Even below these levels, the waiting list extremely long.
  • HUD’s Extremely Low-Income Limit for Washoe County is 34% of AMI ($25,100 for a 4-person household and $15,450 for a 1-person household). A single earner living alone needs to work less than 36 hours per week at the $8.25 minimum wage without benefits to qualify.
  • Among YIMBY’s goals is to overcome the widespread confusion arising from many believing financially attainable quality housing only refers to subsidized housing.
  • There is a shortage of financially attainable quality housing for 74% of our neighbors -- from the homeless up to households making $100,000 per year.
  • Although all of our neighbors can contribute to creating a regenerative culture in Greater Reno by re-balancing their time and financial resources, the better off among us have a special capability to drive the Regenesis transformation. For more information regenerative culture click here.

Identifying and Recruiting Developers for 1,000 Units of Housing

We are working with the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency (TMRPA) and real estate experts to determine the best parcels for building the first 1,000 housing units within TMRPA’s Scenario 4: Infill. Their four scenarios illustrate where 43,000 additional housing units could be built over the next twenty years to accommodate a growth in population of 100,000.

The TMRPA’s Scenario 4: Infill

  • Emphasizes policies that encourage growth to go to already developed areas
  • Maximizes the use of small lots and promotes a mix of uses
  • Seeks to identify infrastructure challenges in areas deemed suitable for infill redevelopment and increased density
  • Allows changes to existing zoning

We will recruit developers for these projects locally and out-of-state by creating and presenting packages of specific opportunities. Many experts and stakeholders will be deployed to detail ways to overcome barriers to rapidly break ground.

Density is good

  • We are unapologetic urbanists who believe in the virtues of cities. More people living in close proximity to each other can improve their lives and the lives of those far beyond the centers of Reno and Sparks.
  • Density can be achieved by increasing housing within the McCarran ring road and along corridors stretching into outlying areas that already have infrastructure in place.
  • Density is sustainability: it reduces urban sprawl, reduces water usage, uses energy more efficiently, and creates a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Density is accessibility: it encourages walking and biking, makes transit more efficient, reduces social isolation, and increases residents’ access to diverse cultural products and to each other.
  • Density is opportunity: it increases access to jobs, supports diverse businesses, promotes innovation, and enables people to be more productive.
  • People should be free to choose to live in places that are urban, compact and walkable, low-density and car-centric. They should also be free to choose to live in suburban or rural places. Not everyone wants to live in a dense city. However, current policies restrict the supply of urban housing, leaving suburban life as the only affordable option for many.

Housing is a home

  • It is not the role of the local government to maximize wealth for property owners.
  • Creating attainable housing for all and maximizing home values are incompatible goals – therefore public policy should be based on viewing homes as places to live, not as investments.
  • Housing is infrastructure. The primary community benefit of new housing is the housing.
  • Filtering exists. Today’s new, expensive housing becomes tomorrow’s inexpensive housing, as long as scarcity isn’t induced by restricting the creation of new housing.
  • Local governments should fight blight by expanding economic opportunities and ensuring access to credit for residents, not by seizing blighted properties via eminent domain and razing them.

Stop Displacement

  • Greater Reno has the physical space for more housing without displacing existing residents.
  • We should maximize the number of Below Market Rate (BMR) housing units as opposed to the percentage of BMR units in new projects.
  • Higher priced housing helps protect lower income residents. In a growing economy, higher income newcomers compete for older housing stock and outbid lower-income residents. Adding supply at all levels helps protect existing non-wealthy residents from being priced out of their homes.
  • Effective ways to protect and preserve existing affordable housing units include community land trusts, resident owned and controlled cooperatives, the Small Sites Acquisition Program, Real Ownership Opportunities for Tenants Program (ROOTS), maintaining strong tenant protections, promoting homeownership, improving access to credit in minority and low-income communities, opposing abusive withholding of housing benefits, expanding federal funding for subsidized housing, providing lawyers for at-risk tenants and homeowners, and building more housing.

Zoning & Planning Policy Prescriptions

  • We believe in long-term planning. Once a citywide or neighborhood plan is made, the process for building should be streamlined, well-defined and predictable. It should not impose significant delays on or add significant costs to a project, nor should individual property owners or neighborhood associations have the power to hijack it.
  • As-of-Right building: development plans approved at the departmental level if the project is within existing zoning.
  • Mandate or incentivize cities to follow regional master plans and statewide housing policies or mandates.
  • Reform of environmental regulations – highly effective, yet also reasonable.
  • Raise height limits.
  • Form-based zoning.
  • Mixed-use zoning.

News from YIMBY of Northern Nevada

  • The housing shortage is not an unintended policy failure. Greater Reno has a housing shortage because of decades of voting and organizing against housing. The solution is to organize for housing.
  • We must mobilize our communities, employees of our businesses and other organizations, make our case in the media, write to legislators, support projects at hearings, support pro-housing candidates, and vote for more housing.

If you would like to receive information and updates on housing issues in Northern Nevada, click HERE to add your name to the list.

For any additional questions or comments please contact:

Gordon Gossage
Regenesis Reno
(617) 694-1624

If you would like to support the crowdfunding of YIMBY of Northern Nevada, contact Gordon at the number above or send a check made out to
Regenesis Reno
and mail to: 561 Keystone Avenue #346, Reno, NV 89503

Please note that our company is not a nonprofit, so your contribution is not tax deductible. Regenesis Reno is in process of organizing as a B Corporation. To check out the great work B Corps are doing visit BCorporation.net/.