A homeless camp across the Truckee River
Mitch Barrie / Flickr
A homeless camp across the Truckee River in Reno on Dec. 17, 2019. UNR announced its collaboration with Eddy House and Redfield Foundation to try and combat youth homelessness on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Correction: The original article stated that Ken Coll was the dean of the College of Education and acting dean of the School of Social Work. The article has been updated to reflect Coll’s correct titles.

The University of Nevada, Reno announced its partnership with the Eddy House and the Redfield Foundation, a non-profit organization to assist in housing people age 18 to 24 on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

The university agreed to the collaboration in December 2019. Provost Kevin Carman and former Dean of the College of Education and current professor of counseling, Kenneth Coll implemented their plan with Eddy House CEO, Diaz Dixon, and Nell J. Redfield President, Jerry Smith, in mid-January.

“There’s a designation that the university’s really been trying to become a more community-engaged university,” Coll said. “It’s a designation by Carnegie, how do we develop meaningful, ongoing relationships with community agencies where everybody wins?”

Coll stated he oversees six interns. The interns are graduate students seeking degrees in social work or family services.

The interns provide clinical mental health services such as mental health counseling or residential therapy, according to Coll. Additionally Coll said they work directly underneath his supervision and assist those who utilize the Eddy House. 

The first meeting between the interns and their program took place on Wednesday, Jan 22.

Coll said there are interns in the School of Social Work in need of work. He said that providing clinical mental health services to the Eddy House would benefit those involved.

According to a report done by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2018, Nevada had an estimated 1,404 out of every 10,000 unaccompanied homeless youth. Approximately 50 percent of individuals have been homeless for a number of years.

Coll expressed concern with the issue of homeless youth in Reno as well as excitement for UNR’s initiative. Coll said this initiative would not only include clinical mental health services, but also assistance in finding job prospects, accelerating in education, learning how to budget finances and improve overall quality of life.

The Eddy House provides a stable environment for youth who may not have that stability in their life, Coll said. 

He added the plan for specific duties provided by the university and the School of Social Work is currently still implementing and is soon to develop into a long-standing relationship.

Coll also expressed his excitement to develop the relationship and long-term plan for the whole collaboration.

“I’m really thrilled to be a part of it,” Coll said. “It’s great. We had our first meeting with our interns just yesterday and everybody is really excited.”

Sarah Strang can be found at sstrang@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @sarahstrang100.