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Faster access to food, housing and other resources for those who are homeless or living in poverty.

Reno, Nevada. Sept. 17, 2014. A group of local government agencies and nonprofit organizations are collaborating on a new system for providing easier, faster access to food, housing and other resources for local people who are homeless or living in poverty. All Northern Nevada residents who visit local food pantries, emergency shelters and other resources are encouraged to obtain a Clarity Card. The media is invited to visit the St. Vincent’s Food Pantry between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Monday, September 22nd in order to conduct interviews and take video and pictures of the new system and Clarity Cards.

The cards, which are being funded by a grant that the City of Reno received from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and Charles Schwab Bank, will identify people by their name and photograph as well as a Clarity identification number. With a quick scan, the client’s data can be accessed on a shared system used by local agencies providing support services. It will then record things such as the number of visits to local food pantries, frequency of nights spent in local shelters, and amount of resources accessed from other helping agencies. Participating agencies will begin using the cards starting October 1st. Clarity is the name of the company that manages software which houses the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), a tracking system for information about people accessing support services.

“This process is going to streamline the way services are delivered in our community.  Service providers won’t have to search for people in their database or make multiple entries, and the clients who visit these agencies won’t have to wait in long lines. It’s about making sure people who really need help are able to access it as quickly and efficiently as possible.,” says Elaine Wiseman, Management Analyst with the City of Reno.

In order to issue as many cards as possible to people who need them, there are three locations where people can obtain a card during the week of September 22nd through 26th. Monday through Friday, people can visit St. Vincent’s Dining Room at 325 Valley Road from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or St. Vincent’s Food Pantry  at 500 East Fourth Street from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Cards will also be issued from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Tom Vetica Resource Center at 335 Record Street.

Aside from a more efficient allocation of local resources for people in need, the new cards will also keep more accurate data regarding the numbers of local people and families relying on helping agencies for their family’s survival and well being. In the long run, this data will be helpful in securing future grant funding for additional resources and projects.

Project coordinators are estimating that more than 20,000 local people will eventually be Clarity Card holders. This project is the first phase of an initiative that moves toward a centralized intake system for poverty services in Washoe County, as directed by the HUD’s Continuum of Care (CoC) program, which promotes a community wide commitment to ending homelessness. Starting October 1st, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada (CCNN) will be the single hub for centralized intake, meaning anyone accessing housing or other support services will be processed at CCNN’s main campus at 500 East Fourth Street.

About Catholic Charities:  Established in 1941, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada (CCNN) is a Nevada-based, 501(c) (3) tax-exempt, non-profit corporation operating nine human service programs including:  St. Vincent’s Dining Room, St. Vincent’s Food Pantry, St. Vincent's Resource Network, St. Vincent’s Residence, Crossroads, St. Vincent’s Thrift Shop, Holy Child Early Learning Center, Immigration Assistance Program, Adoption Services, and the Kids to Seniors Korner Program. CCNN is committed to providing help and creating hope in our community. From infants to seniors, CCNN assists approximately 40,000 people per month in the northern Nevada community.