What We Do
The RHA helps ensure nearly 9,000 people in the Truckee Meadows have a safe, secure place to call home.
RHA currently owns and manages more than 750 units of Public Housing in eight different locations in Reno and Sparks under the Public Housing program. Through Neighborhood Stabilization Programs and other funding, the organization also owns more than 165 rental properties specifically targeted for low-income households. Additionally, RHA and its subsidiary, Washoe Affordable Housing Corporation, owns, manages or contracts more than 1,400 below market rate rental properties in Washoe County.
RHA also provides housing subsidies to more than 2,500 low-income families in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through Rental Assistance programs. On top of that, the organization provides more than 400 housing subsidies specifically for veterans in the community through the HUD Veterans Administration Supportive Housing initiative. RHA additionally provides housing subsidies for 15 former foster youth, and more than $50,000 a year to Eddy House as part of a shallow subsidies program to help provide shelter and programs for the area’s unhoused youth.
More than 130 Emergency Housing Vouchers are also shared in Washoe County for individuals or families that are homeless, at risk of homelessness, fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking, or for whom providing rental assistance will prevent the family’s homelessness or having high risk of housing instability.
The RHA is the premiere affordable housing entity in Washoe County. We’re part of the housing solution for low-income Nevadans in our community.
Public Housing in this country was established by the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. The purpose of the Act was to provide homes for those of low and moderate income and to provide jobs for the unemployed. The Housing Authority of the City of Reno (“Reno Housing Authority” or “RHA”), was founded six years later, in October 1943, as a municipal corporation under Nevada Revised Statute 315. Since its founding, RHA has also been appointed as the Public Housing Authority for the City of Sparks, Reno, and Washoe County.
The mission of the Housing Authority is to provide fair, sustainable, quality housing in diverse neighborhoods throughout Reno, Sparks and Washoe County that offers a stable foundation for low-income families to pursue economic opportunities, become self-sufficient and improve their quality of life.
RHA has a five-person Board of Commissioners appointed by the Mayor of Reno with the concurrence of the Reno City Council. The Board of Commissioners appoints an Executive Director who administers the day-to-day operations of the organization.
RHA employs approximately 80 people with duties ranging from maintenance and inspections to administration of the various RHA programs and complexes.
Dr. Hilary Lopez – Executive Director
The RHA executive director packs a wallop into her 5’1” frame. Hilary Lopez, Ph.D. has an extensive background in affordable housing financing, preservation and modernization in the public and private sectors. She has worked most of her career helping housing authorities and non-profit agencies across the nation build, rehab, and maintain public housing and other affordable housing stock. She’s also originally from Brooklyn and still appreciates a good slice of pizza, but the Truckee Meadows has been home for nearly 30 years.
Dr. Lopez holds a course certificate from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Bard College, a Master of Science in Resource and Applied Economics from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Geography from the University of Denver. She is also certified as a Housing Development Finance Professional from the National Development Council and is a recognized HOME Program Specialist in Administration by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Outside of work you can find her cheering her son at his baseball games, visiting her daughter at college, or spending time with her husband at one of the area’s many outdoor events.
Hilary can be reached at 775.329.3630.
Heidi McKendree – Deputy Executive Director
For someone who claims to have lived an unremarkable life, Heidi McKendree sure has packed a whole lot of public assistance into her work days. Heidi is the deputy executive director at RHA and in her 15 years with the organization, has served as the family self-sufficiency coordinator, elderly services coordinator, grants writer and director of rental assistance. Working one-on-one with low-income families, ensuring they have clean, safe, affordable homes, and then overseeing millions of dollars in federal aid each year, we’d say she’s more remarkable than she thinks.
Heidi is a graduate of Southern Oregon University in Ashland with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminology. She came to the RHA after several years working as a discharge planner and social worker for a skilled nursing facility in Portland. She fell in love with working with older people there and relished hearing their stories. She accepted a position at RHA soon after moving to Reno and has never looked back.
Heidi’s a proud University of Nevada, Reno mom and also dog mom to Tim, Baxter and Duke. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 775.329.363. x234.
Kristin Scott – Director of Asset Management
For a woman who loves all things water, it’s ironic that she lives in a desert. Kristin Scott is the agency’s Director of Asset Management. That means all 750 units of public housing and 200 units of other RHA affordable housing fall under her, and she and her staff of more than two dozen maintenance and property managers oversee every bit of it.
Kristin worked in assistant manager and asset management roles at RHA before being selected as a director, and laughs that working in housing was natural for her. Her mom is a property manager, her husband is a property maintenance worker, and she’s managed people and projects most of her adult life. She swears she’ll move closer to the water one day, but for now, Kristin strives to ensure all RHA residents have a consistent housing experience and that her employees understand the career progression available to them at RHA.
Kristin can be reached at 775.329.3630 or at email@example.com.
Darrell Playford – Director of Development
A man who’s lived in 19 different houses, and built several of them himself, probably knows a thing or two about permitting, engineering, project management and construction. Darrell Playford has used that knowledge, and his 40+ years in the public and private engineering industry, every day at RHA. Darrell is the Director of Development.
From age 14 working for his family’s bridge building business to his work today on the RHA’s newest affordable housing project, Dick Scott Manor, Darrell brings a wealth of knowledge. He was pleased to be able to do most of the initial design work on the new complex that will give homes to homeless veterans. It’s a project close to his heart as Darrell’s dad was a WWII, Korea and Vietnam combat veteran.
Darrell attended the University of Nevada, Reno and Arizona State University. He’s an avid hunter and outdoorsman, and collects antique guns. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 775.329.3630 ext. 212.
Linda Long – Director of Administration
Linda Long is the director of administration at the RHA. She and her accounting team manage millions of dollars in more than 60 different funds for the housing authority. She studied accounting at Truckee Meadows Community College and Southern Oregon University. Linda has a diverse background including real estate management, motor vehicle finance administration, CPA firm tax preparation, and more. She’s an Enrolled Agent with the IRS, which sounds dark and ominous, but means that if you’re in tax trouble, she can help you out.
Linda and her husband of 30 years have an inherited cat and enjoy their grandpuppies. When asked about her hobbies, she asked if work counts. No, Linda, it doesn’t. In her off time she can be found watching baseball, reading, and spending time outdoors.
You can reach Linda at email@example.com or at 775.329.3630 x264.
Jamie Newfelt – Director of Rental Assistance
She’s got an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and a masters in forensic science, but Jamie Newfelt found her true career calling in housing. Weird, we know. Eleven years after applying for a part-time office clerk position at RHA (while writing her thesis), she’s touched nearly every part of the rental assistance department and is now the director of rental assistance for the entire organization.
The rental assistance department oversees all of the regular and specialty housing voucher programs RHA administers, along with landlord incentive programs and housing quality standards inspections. Jamie’s staff of nearly two dozen is one of the largest at RHA and they help ensure more than 2,500 individuals and families have a safe, clean home in which to live.
A dancer since she was five years old, Jamie spends much of her free time volunteering and serving on the board at The Ballroom of Reno. She can be reached at 775.329.3630 x219 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darren Squillante – Director of Human Resources
Darren Squillante joined the Reno Housing Authority as the Director of Human Resources in 2021. He has a diverse human resource background with more than 25 years of experience in private and public sector organizations. He previously worked as the Human Resource Officer for the State of Nevada with the Division of Child and Family Services, the Division of Public and Behavioral Health, and most recently, the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services.
Darren holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of San Diego. He also has certifications from the HRCI as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM-SCP.
Squillante is pleased to provide human resource support for a smaller organization these days, where he can know everyone by their first name!
He can be reached at email@example.com or at 775.329.3630 x 241.
Cori Fisher – Director of Resident Services
It was probably inevitable that Cori Fisher would work at RHA. Our Director of Resident Services, she grew up at the knee of her grandfather, Dick Scott, who just happened to be an RHA Commissioner for 17 years. In fact, for many years after leaving he would call and visit the office, just to see what we’re up to. It’s that kind of family connection that drives Cori in her position to help others.
Cori oversees all the workforce development opportunities for RHA adults, all the growth opportunities for RHA youth, and all the services and events for RHA seniors. Her staff touches residents in meaningful ways and she wouldn’t do anything different. From her background as a character leadership development coordinator at Boys and Girls Club to multiple roles at RHA, this avid hiker gets most excited about helping people reach their full potential. You need resources to help with education, nutrition, building a resume or healthcare? She’s got ‘em in spades.
Cori is so passionate about the work we do at RHA, she says she can’t envision herself doing anything else. Except maybe watching the Dodgers.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 775.329.3630 x242.
Samantha Arellano – Director of Information Technology
With travels to Portugal, Malta, Canada, Greece and more, this jet-setting woman sets a high bar for vacations. She sets them even higher for RHA. Samantha Arellano is the RHA’s director of information technology and in her six years here, has moved mountains.
She’s currently overseeing the organization’s move from a paper-based workflow to an electronic document management system. And while she wouldn’t say that the pandemic was a dream come true (she admits to initially panicking at the thought of 60+ employees trying to work from home) it ended up being the catalyst for restructuring the entire RHA network, improving fiber capacity and firewalls, and ultimately replacing every PC with laptops and docking stations. Samantha contends her team is in the service industry and its role is to ensure everyone else at RHA can get their jobs done safely and securely.
Samantha attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, holds a bachelor’s in information systems from the University of Nevada, Reno and is an avowed CrossFit fanatic. Samantha is available at email@example.com or at 775.329.3630 x223.