Ten years ago, Lynette Eddy founded the Eddy House after witnessing the issue of youth homelessness and the dire need for a resource center in Northern Nevada. In the decade since, Eddy House has become a safety net for one of Reno’s most vulnerable populations, dedicating its efforts to transforming the lives of children, teenagers, and young adults for the better.

At Dickson Realty, we are committed to providing clients and community members with safe places to live while addressing the region’s top five community issues. That’s why we want to recognize Eddy House for its extraordinary accomplishments and growth over the last decade. 

We asked Lynette to share how Eddy House first started and what made her vision become a reality. We also reached out to Trevor Macaluso, CEO of Eddy House, to share insight into the issue of youth homelessness, how community members can help, and what we can expect for the future of outreach. 

Every year, about 700,000 unaccompanied minors will experience homelessness in the U.S., and about one in 10 young adults—ages 18 to 25—will experience some form of homelessness. Trevor explained that many homeless and at-risk youths struggle to meet their basic survival needs—15 people often crowd into a single motel room to escape the streets for the night. Eddy House can provide showers, warm meals, clothes, and a safe place to sleep, along with counseling services, life skill groups, workforce development, health care services, and more. From a small drop-in center to a 16,335 square-foot 24-hour shelter, Eddy House has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade. 

On Saturday, Nov. 12., Eddy House celebrated with a 10th Anniversary Gala at the Whitney Peak Hotel. If you missed it, keep reading to learn more about how you can help support and provide opportunities for the homeless youth in our community. 

Eddy House Talks About Youth Homelessness In Northern Nevada And The Future Of Outreach

How did Eddy House first come to fruition?  

Eddy House 10th Anniversary Lynette
Image provided by the Eddy House / Lynette Eddy, founder of The Eddy House, celebrates the organization’s 10th anniversary.

Lynette says: During my last year of graduate school for social work at the University of Nevada, Reno, I was interning on Record Street in downtown Reno, working with the homeless. I quickly learned that young adults were the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population.

I also realized there was a severe lack of services for at-risk youth. It saddened me to see this happening at such a young age when kids have so much potential. If someone didn’t do something, they could face a lifetime of homelessness, negatively impacting our community’s economic and social health.

After graduating, I bought a small residential house in northwest Reno and pulled together a group of friends—primarily social workers—to help house young men who had aged out of foster care. We became an official nonprofit and opened a restaurant to provide a revenue source for them but eventually closed.  

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens

Eddy House - New Shelter - Beds
Image provided by the Eddy House / The Eddy House’s youth homeless facility in downtown Reno includes 45 beds, 20 of which provide shelter for individuals who drop in on a first-come, first-served basis each night.

With the help of the Northern Nevada Community Foundation, we managed to open a small drop-in center on East Sixth Street in downtown Reno and quickly became the central intake and assessment facility in Northern Nevada for homeless youth.

However, we realized that the need for resources was too significant for what our small facility could handle. After years of anticipation, in January 2020, Eddy House opened its doors to a new 16,335 square-foot facility with 24-hour services for homeless and at-risk youth.

Although I never imagined Eddy House would evolve into a national model, we are an excellent example of how a community can solve an issue. I believe educating the public about youth homelessness was instrumental in our development and find this quote to be true: “The first step to change is awareness.”

What socio-economic factors can cause youth homelessness in Northern Nevada? 

Trevor says: Clients come from various backgrounds, but many have been aged out of the foster care system and don’t have a safe place to go afterward. We also have youth struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues, one of the most significant contributing factors to homelessness. We also have members from the LGBTQIA+ community facing social stigma, discrimination, and often rejection by their families.

Homelessness spans every background and can be situational—our clients will occasionally get evicted from their homes due to a family member or friend not paying rent.

Eddy House works with a wide range of organizations and resources to ensure homeless youth get the help they need. For more information, click here.

What are some of the challenges for youth experiencing homelessness?

Trevor says: Homeless and at-risk youths often lack access to food, water, and shelter. Eddy House can provide them with hot showers, a good meal, and a safe place to sleep at night. We also work with clients on different life skills to help them look for jobs and stable housing options, such as the Battle Born Housing, Reno Housing Authority, and Village on Sage Street. Eddy House wants to provide homeless youth with as many opportunities as possible. Not only are we an emergency shelter, but we also establish relationships and help them develop the necessary skills for sustainable independence. 

What was the significance of the 10th-Anniversary Gala? 

Trevor says: During the 10th-Anniversary Gala, we celebrated working with homeless and at-risk youths in our community and making a positive impact on their lives. Many of our clients have careers with stable living arrangements now. We also celebrated and thanked the Northern Nevada community for all the support, volunteering, and financial contributions we have received over the years. Without community support, it would not have been possible to reach more than 550 youths in 2020. We want to thank everyone who has made our vision become a reality. 

How does ‘Home Means Nevada’ relate to Eddy House’s mission? 

Trevor says: The theme for our 10th Anniversary Gala was ‘Home Means Nevada’ because we’re proud to be a part of the Northern Nevada community. This saying represents how important it is for us to care for our fellow community members and find solutions to help those in need, especially homeless youth.  

Eddy House - New Shelter - Computers
Image provided by the Eddy House / The Eddy House’s youth homeless facility in downtown Reno includes a computer lab.

What is your biggest hope for the next decade?

Trevor says: We need to focus on finding mental health solutions for homeless populations across the country, both young and old. We’d also love to see the support and awareness of youth homelessness broaden across our community.

If we practice more early intervention, we have the opportunity to change someone’s life for the long term. And although I believe that’s the same for every person experiencing homelessness, young adults have to take risks as if they were much older. At Eddy House, our goal is to capture them early on and provide the tools they need to thrive. 

For those experiencing mental health and substance abuse issues, Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital offers effective addiction and adolescent psychiatric treatments. Reno Behavioral also provides free and confidential mental health assessments 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to determine the best treatment plan. For more information on additional mental health resources to homeless youth in Northern Nevada, click here

How can community members get more involved with Eddy House? 

Trevor says: We rely on the community for support. Not only do we need help with financial investment for our programs, but we also need help providing homeless youth with the basics of clothing, food, and water. Many of our clients can’t buy clothes for themselves, and they also need backpacks to transport all their belongings. Community members can help by spreading the word about youth homelessness in Northern Nevada and our mission to solve it. Awareness is the biggest thing for us. That’s why we love it when community members get involved and introduce us to other individuals and organizations around town. If you’ve never visited our facility before, please take a tour with us. We’d love to share our vision with you. Education is the first step to awareness and becoming an advocate for the issues that homeless youth face. 

Keeping Homeless Youth Warm This Winter

Winter is right around the corner, temperatures have dropped in Northern Nevada, and many homeless youths struggle to afford the appropriate clothing to survive. So, if you’ve been thinking about donating used winter gear, then now is the time. The holiday season is also a perfect time to give back, and what better way than to help keep the homeless youth population warm? Eddy House is currently asking for:

  • Beanies

  • Body wash

  • Conditioner

  • Gatorade

  • Gloves

  • Hand warmers

  • Men’s boxer briefs

  • Non-perishable food items

  • Shampoo

  • Shaving cream

  • Thermal underwear

  • Warm socks

  • Water

  • Women’s bras

  • Women’s leggings

You can visit Eddy House’s Amazon Wishlist for easy purchases. 

With your charitable donation, you can provide hope and joy to at-risk youths during one of the most challenging times in their lives. You can also support Eddy House and its mission to end youth homelessness through corporate sponsorship, fundraising, and volunteering. Most donations are tax-deductible, and the 2020 Cares Act has been extended to December 31, 2021. This means that for individuals who itemize their federal income taxes, the cap on deductions taken for annual contributions has been lifted from 60% to 100% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash gifts to public charities. To learn more about how to donate or volunteer, please click here

At Dickson Realty, we are proud to support organizations like the Eddy House for making Northern Nevada a wonderful and safe place to live. To learn more about our commitment to the community, you can visit our website or contact one of our neighborhood experts today.