The mission of Eddy House is to promote self-sufficiency and empowerment to homeless, runaway, foster, and other at-risk youth, ages 12-24, in an individualized, relationship-based, trusting environment by offering safety, basic needs, and access to community resources in Northern Nevada.
Eddy House is the central intake and assessment facility in Northern Nevada. The objective of the Eddy House is to end youth homelessness in Reno, Nevada. To accomplish this, we identify homeless, at-risk, and aged-out foster youth through extensive outreach in Downtown Reno.
Eddy House was founded in 2011 by Lynette Eddy. Eddy House was originally a residence purchased for former foster youth who found themselves out on the streets after aging-out of the foster system.
I was recently widowed and was looking for a way to deal with my grief by turning a negative into a positive.
Eddy had gone back to school and was studying for a Master’s degree at the UNR School of Social Work when as part of a school project, she decided to order a pizza and conduct a focus group at an area downtown known as “the Circle.” That afternoon, surrounded by hungry teens, Eddy heard the personal stories of the young people living on the streets of Reno and decided to take action.
Five years later, thanks to an initiative put forth by the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, the Eddy House has morphed into a drop-in resource center for Northern Nevada’s homeless youth. Young people, ages 12-24 are welcome to come by for care and comfort services such as: showers, food and clothing. Youth know staff by name and a Crisis Manager provides light case management and referrals to community agencies who work closely with the Eddy House.
The way we treat our most vulnerable is a reflection on who we are as a community. These are the community’s kids. We can’t ignore it. These kids are in a constant state of crisis and it’s a public health issue.
Our Future Goals
The biggest hurdle we face is the lack of affordable housing in Reno. Youth are homeless for very different reasons than adults and research shows that the two populations should not be housed together. Our future plans will expand to include a 24-hour Drop-in Resource Center in Downtown Reno.
We plan to give office space to contracted vendors who provide services to our youth so they may be more effective. For example: Examination rooms will be available for our HOPES nurse and HIV testing.
While our programming has been effective, we have found that our youth leave the current drop-in center each night and return to the streets to be re-traumatized. In June, 100% of our youth reported that they were assaulted at least once per week on the streets. Those who have secured employment have difficulty maintaining that employment without a safe place to stay at night. With wrap-around services provided on-site, youth will learn the basic living skills they need to become healthy, productive members of society.
There is approximately 53,000 homeless youth in the United States, with more than 3,500 in Reno. Homeless youth suffer from depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Young people run a greater risk of being homeless if:
- Their parents struggle with substance abuse or suffer mental illness
- Are victims of child abuse or neglect
- The child was homeless previously
- Identify with the LGBT community
- Have been in foster care