Housing and Homeless Services

Safe Camp

Nevada Cares Campus Safe Camp

After many community conversations about the need for expanding the capacity for emergency shelter, in a concurrent meeting dated November 18, 2020, the Washoe County Board of Commissioners, the City of Reno and Sparks City Councils voted to acquire and cost share three parcels on East 4th Street for the purpose of expanding shelter capacity in the region to assist people experiencing homelessness. 

One of the purchased parcels included the parcel formerly known as the Governor’s Bowl Park which was discussed to be a safe camping location.  The location was identified to serve as a safe space where encampments along the Truckee River could relocate providing access to basic services and a more secure location for individuals not wishing to move into shelters.

Development Phase


In early 2021, the site evaluation for the Safe Camp pilot program began. This pilot program is now in the development phase, where the layout, budget and construction timeline are being established. Professional staff is engaged in the infrastructure development to address all location matters including site grading, emergency access, ADA access, drainage, utilities, etc.

As this process takes time, Washoe County developed a temporary site to operate while construction for the long-term site is underway. The opening for the temporary site took place June 17th, 2021. The tentative opening date for the long-term site will be shared as soon as it becomes available.

  • Site Evaluation
    Site Evaluation
  • Initial Temporary Tents
    Initial Temporary Tents
  • Transition to ModPods
    Transition to ModPods
  • ModPods at Temporary Site
    ModPods at Temporary Site
  • Long Term Site Design
    Long Term Site Design


Transition from tents to individual shelters 


On June 17th, 2021, when the Safe Camp pilot program initiated, the program provided participants a tent, sleeping bag and a cot to sleep on in a specific location within the temporary Safe Camp site. As the team continued to assess the program, the decision to transition from tents to individual ModPods was made late Fall 2021.

Washoe County has purchased 52 of these individual units, where 45 have been set up in the temporary site and the remainder will be set up in the long-term site. These individual units are insulated and provide heating and cooling in addition to access to electrical outlets for personal devices. These individual units have replaced the tents moving forward.

For program information such as Safe Camp admission and criteria, please visit here

Last Revised 11/2022

Additional Information 

If you are interested in additional information on the Nevada Cares Campus Safe Camp, please contact Washoe County Housing and Homeless Services at:RegionalHomelessServices@washoecounty.gov.  

Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »