Skip to main content

News | November 2, 2021

Fifth Annual Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit Convenes November 4

Image of the silhouette of a person overlooking a city at night

On Thursday, November 4, Las Vegas Sands and the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY) will kick off the fifth annual Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit. Sands and NPHY have spearheaded the event since 2017 to address the region’s severe youth homelessness crisis. This year’s Summit takes place at the UNLV Greenspun Hall Auditorium with a simultaneous webcast for virtual attendance.

The Summit is a major component of Sands’ and NPHY’s partnership that began in 2014 and has focused on a variety of initiatives to end youth homelessness in Southern Nevada. For years, Las Vegas/Clark County has ranked in the top major metropolitan areas with the largest numbers of unaccompanied homeless children and youth. With solving the youth homelessness crisis identified as one of its primary Sands Cares initiatives in Las Vegas, Sands has worked with NPHY to create and implement new programs such as the Summit and NPHY’s Housing Expansion Campaign, along with providing multi-faceted Sands Cares support for NPHY’s ongoing programming. Sands’ goal is to help NPHY meet the most urgent needs of youth experiencing homelessness, while simultaneously working toward long-term, systemic change.

“The Southern Nevada Youth Homeless Summit has become a vital venue for our region to identify and innovate strategies and practical methods to spur substantive change in our fight to end youth homelessness,” said Arash Ghafoori, CEO of NPHY. “The pandemic and its economic impact have only exacerbated the risks faced by the youth we serve. Yet, during this difficult time, our community has been able to unlock creative solutions and discover new resources. Summit 2021 will harness these insights and set priorities for turning them into action.”

The focus of Summit 2021, The Movement Evolves, is to adapt plans designed against strategies outlined in the Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness to the hard-fought learnings gleaned from the COVID-19 pandemic and renewed focus on racial justice. The Plan, led by NPHY and created via a community process involving more than 45 partner organizations and young people with lived experience of homelessness, is a direct outcome of the discussions and ideas generated at the annual Summit, and represents the region’s first-ever sustained and collaborative community effort to combat youth homelessness.

The Summit’s morning session will feature a robust panel discussion of public and private leaders addressing insights and ideas emerging from this unprecedented time of change. Panel participants will include Nevada Assemblymember Howard Watts; Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones; Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Lamarre, Esq., Title I Programs Director & Federal Liaison, Nevada Department of Education; Tim Burch, Clark County Administrator of Human Services; Christina Vela, Chief Executive Officer, St. Jude’s Ranch for Children; and Theresa Butler, Outreach Coordinator, Young Adults in Charge (YAC). Robert Ulmer, Ph.D., dean of the University of Nevada Las Vegas Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, will moderate.

Setting the stage for the featured panel discussion, NPHY CEO Arash Ghafoori will give an update on the Movement to End Youth Homelessness, and young leaders with lived experience of homelessness will showcase an inspiring and thought-provoking mainstage performance on authentic youth engagement.

The afternoon session will feature a special highlight for the annual Summit. Attendees will share ideas and lend perspectives on how the state can help meet the needs of young people experiencing homelessness in a session featuring Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine and Yvanna Cancela, Chief of Staff for Governor Steve Sisolak.

“Summit 2021 has been a significant part of Las Vegas Sands’ continuing commitment to helping vulnerable youth in Southern Nevada,” said Ron Reese, senior vice president of global communications and corporate affairs at Sands. “As we examine pandemic recovery, we have an even greater potential to affect profound change on the fight to end youth homelessness. Every youth deserves a safe home and resources to help them grow and flourish. We invite our community members to hear the compelling discussions at Summit 2021 and learn about how they can contribute to ending youth homelessness.”

The 2021 Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit: The Movement Evolves is presented by Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth and Sands Cares with support from the UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. To register for the virtual broadcast or to learn more about the Movement to End Youth Homelessness in Southern Nevada, please visit

For more information on Sands’ work in youth homelessness, visit