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News | September 8, 2020

A Fresh Start: Sands-Supported Initiative Celebrates Three Years of Serving the Community

Sands and global WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) leader Clean the World Foundation have partnered on a number of important initiatives over the years, including the Drop by Drop Project; an annual disaster relief kit build; and the Fresh Start Mobile Shower, which last month celebrated its third anniversary of providing important services to those in need in the community.

The Fresh Start initiative was launched in August 2017. Primarily targeting individuals experiencing homelessness, Fresh Start aims to help those who don’t have access to reliable shelter and aren’t receiving services from other organizations. Along with free showers from a mobile unit and hygiene supplies, Fresh Start also offers more than 20 additional services as part of its “wrap-around” approach through the CARE complex, providing professional assistance with pathways to permanent housing, treatment services, veterinary care for pets and job placement assistance, among others.

Sam Stephens, Clean the World Foundation executive director, notes that Fresh Start has served thousands of individuals over the past three years. With funding, in-kind and volunteer support from Sands and other organizations, Clean the World Foundation is able to provide in-the-moment assistance, and connect members of the community with other service providers to help them get back on their feet. “It’s been an honor to partner with Sands in this life-changing initiative. We know of so many people who now have jobs and are living in homes of their own, all because they came to the mobile unit when they were in a tough spot, and we were able to connect them to other services they need,” he says. “Without Sands’ generous support, this incredible impact wouldn’t be possible.”

The overall impact of Fresh Start and the work of Clean the World Foundation overall extends even further:

  • Resort partners like Sands provide much of the hygiene supply donations. These items, otherwise designated to be discarded, have amounted to 22 million pounds of waste being kept out of landfills since 2017.
  • Every year, UNICEF tracks global numbers of child deaths from a number of causes, including hygiene-related illnesses, the greatest source of preventable childhood mortality around the world. Over the past 11 years, the global number of childhood deaths has decreased by 65%. According to the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, handwashing with soap is the most effective way to prevent these childhood deaths. The hygiene services provided by Fresh Start, as part of their overall commitment to WASH, are an important part of continuing that downward trend in childhood mortality.
  • An annual Point in Time Count establishes the number of unsheltered individuals experiencing homelessness in Southern Nevada. In 2019, that count showed a 15% decrease in unsheltered homeless individuals over the previous year. Fresh Start, the CARE complex and other community organizations are integral pieces of maintaining that decrease, and progressing in the overarching mission of ending homelessness.

Since 2010, Fresh Start has served over two million people in the Las Vegas area alone, and 15 million around the world. Providing 16,000 showers in the three years it has been operational, along with a host of other important services, this vital public service has been invaluable to the community and to individuals experiencing homelessness.