The Sparks location, at 630 Greenbrae Drive, and the Reno location, at 4095 S. Virginia Street, divided from the former northwest Reno office to better serve residents and avoid overcrowding in the single location. Steve Fisher, Deputy Administrator of Field Operations for DWSS, said Monday morning the Sparks office offered far less transitional challenges than the Reno office.
“This location was pretty easy,” Fisher said of the transition. “The reason I say that is because this particular office we were able to buy brand new furniture and we were able to buy some new machines. We were able to come in weeks before the opening and set everything up.
“The Reno office is a different story. We had to vacate the old building after we closed on Friday and over the weekend we had to move the entire Reno office from its old location to its new location. So as you can imagine we are still moving. It is pretty chaotic right now.”
Fisher said the Reno office is operable and serving customers as usual, but he said the moving in process is yet to be finished with the nearly 120 employees at the location. The Sparks office hosts a much smaller staff of about 30 employees, but Fisher said that does not hamper its ability to handle the needs of clients.
“This office is small in comparison, but nonetheless it is full service,” Fisher said, adding that services such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps), Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, can all be done through the new Sparks office. “About the only thing we can’t do is the employee training component of our operation. But we can easily assist people in that matter with one phone call to the Reno office.”
The Sparks office offers a much more spacious environment for customers with its new lobby and reception services, making the process of being helped streamlined and swift. Fisher also said both offices were moved to their respective locations based on the Regional Transportation Commission’s bus route services.
“Our primary reason, first of all, was the old office was not a very good location in town for our clients,” Fisher said of the King’s Row location. “It was difficult for many of our clients to get to. We looked for locations that provide easy access to the bus service. This location is perfect because the bus comes right by here and it is perfect for our clients who don’t have cars.
“Secondly, we are in the process of what’s called a business process reengineering within our division. Primarily it is to provide quality, timely service. That’s our main goal. We felt by taking the Reno office, and splitting it into two locations, and putting an office in Sparks, and one in Reno, we could better serve our clients.”
While the new offices are making it easier for Washoe County residents, Fisher said the DWSS’ online services are quickly growing and are a useful tool to those not wishing to leave the privacy of their own home. He said a long-term goal for the division is to offer services similar to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles where online and kiosk services are as prevalent as coming into a local office. The Sparks office also offers computers for DWSS’ online services for those who do not have them at home.
Business hours of both offices are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information about the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, visit www.dwss.nv.gov.