Las Vegas Sands Corp., Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, College of Urban Affairs Youth Homelessness Summit Nov. 2
Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY) announced they will launch a major coordinated regional effort to address youth homelessness, kicking off with Intersections: The 2017 Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit during Youth Homelessness Awareness Month in November.
Summit 17, planned for Nov. 2 at The Venetian Las Vegas, aims to accelerate community awareness of the problem and will kick-start a year-long planning process to create the Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness. This community-wide master plan is targeted at reducing the high incidence numbers and addressing the myriad of problems underscored by youth homelessness – from criminal behavior to health consequences and more.
According to the latest data available from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in its 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, Las Vegas/Clark County had the third highest number of unaccompanied homeless children and youth living on the streets and in shelters of any major metro area in the United States – following only New York and Los Angeles. In addition, the State of Nevada continues to rank first in the rate of unaccompanied homeless youth living unsheltered, demonstrating a lack of resources in the community.
"Youth homelessness is not a standalone problem, and it is intimately connected to so many other critical issues that deeply affect our region's economy, public health, safety and quality of life," said Ron Reese, senior vice president of global communications and corporate affairs at Las Vegas Sands Corp. "We hope that civic and business leaders, service providers and policy makers who can help turn around these alarming statistics and impact our city's vulnerable youth will join this important endeavor."
Summit 17 is presented by NPHY and Sands Cares, the corporate giving program of Las Vegas Sands Corp., with support from the UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The event will showcase the youth homelessness issue through data and personal stories, as well as deliver insights from a range of experts. Current highlights planned for Summit 17 include:
- A state of the union on youth homelessness by the UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs
- A review of the national policy landscape by Darla Bardine, J.D., Executive Director of the National Network for Youth (NN4Y), the United States' largest public education and policy advocacy organization devoted to homeless youth
- A personal story by Giuseppe Pizano, a former homeless youth
- Interactive focus group sessions exploring the intersections between youth homelessness and other key community issue areas, including human trafficking, education, immigration and LGBTQ issues
Beyond creating awareness and insights, Summit 17 will launch a year-long community work group effort to build a youth homelessness "attack" plan for Las Vegas/Clark County, with the Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness slated to be presented at the second annual Summit in 2018.
While many other communities across the nation have developed coordinated plans to end youth homelessness, Southern Nevada must band together to create systemic and lasting change for this exceptionally vulnerable population. Southern Nevada is also in direct competition with other communities for very limited federal government and national foundation dollars for homeless youth programs, making it even harder for our community to create and offer critical services.
"Our city's homeless youth get lost in a system that is currently better at addressing the outcomes of their situation – for example, crime, substance abuse, trafficking, pregnancy and truancy – instead of the root cause of not having the fundamental support system of a reliable home," said Arash Ghafoori, executive director of Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth. "We can impact many of these issues if we solve the underlying problem of getting kids off the streets. Our theme of 'Intersections' underscores the need to address all of the facets that contribute to youth homelessness and exacerbate the impact on our community."
For more information about Intersections: The 2017 Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit, please visit http://www.nphy.org/summit17/ .