Research: Urban Affairs Faculty Publish Studies on Homeless Youth

Nov. 13, 2018

The Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY) and Las Vegas Sands led the community in debuting the region's first-ever plan to end youth homelessness after a year-long community-driven effort to build a comprehensive safety net for the region, which ranks among the nation's highest in incidence rates for youth homelessness. 

The annual summit held Nov. 2, 2018 was the result of an ongoing partnership between the College of Urban Affairs, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, Las Vegas Sands Corp., and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs faculty presented three studies at the summit. The research papers are attached below.

One of the papers examined how laws regarding truancy, health care, the juvenile justice system, education, and other areas affect homeless youth. The authors are faculty members Kathleen Bergquist (UNLV social work), Patricia Cook-Craig (School of Public Policy and Leadership), William Sousa (Department of Criminal Justice); Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth Executive Director Arash Ghafoori, Hannah Nelson, a UNLV social work graduate student, and Melissa Jacobowitz, a graduate of the public administration program from the School of Public Policy and Leadership.

The second paper compares demographics, housing availability, wage information, and youth services across the major U.S. cities with the highest and lowest rates of youth homelessness. The authors are: Cook-Craig, Carlton Craig (School of Social Work), Ghafoori and Jacobowitz, and local high school student volunteer Katie Lim.

The final paper looks at the income gap between Southern Nevada’s homeless youth and other nonhomeless youth. The paper examines the losses to the state in terms of tax revenue and jobs when homeless youth face employment and financial disadvantages. The faculty authors are Cook-Craig, Jaewon Lim (School of Public Policy and Leadership); Ghafoori and Jacobowitz, and Saba Manesh, a UNLV engineering student.

The Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness delivers a blueprint to address the critical issue of youth homelessness in the Las Vegas Valley. The plan outlines five key goals with associated strategies to reduce the incidence rate to rare and brief occurrences that are immediately and effectively addressed to keep youth off the streets permanently.

The new Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness, a roadmap to tackle the issue developed by a community-wide network called “the Movement,” is available on the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth’s #BetheMovement website: