Through Sands Cares, Las Vegas Sands’ corporate giving program, the company is leading the way to bring positive change to the significant homelessness problem in Las Vegas. Through various agencies and partners in the community, Las Vegas Sands believes in playing an active role to bring new solutions and resources to address the issue. Las Vegas has the third largest unaccompanied homeless youth population, with more than 80% unsheltered, the highest rate in the nation and the sixth largest population of homeless individuals among major cities.
“Grants from Sands Cares have helped us in so many areas,” Abby Quinn, Chief Community Relations Officer for HELP of Southern Nevada, said. “Our Homeless Services Department alone has impacted 400 clients supplying them with various services. We may not be able to help everyone, but we know we can help some. We’d be in a very difficult situation without volunteers and donations because Sands Cares has been so instrumental in helping us over the years.”
HELP of Southern Nevada was originally established by the Junior League of Las Vegas as a referral agency, leading clients to other agencies to assist them. Today, the non-profit assists clients directly through key programs: Home Weatherization, Emergency Services, Baby First Services, and Work Development.
“Our clients are battling mental illness and substance abuse issues because they have been self-medicating for so long,” Quinn said. “We’re here to try and get them to overcome their barriers by providing them with the tools to get out of homelessness. Once they overcome the barriers, then we can really start getting them on the road to self-sufficiency.”
Intensive Case Management and Housing First Kits are two of the programs that Sands Cares has focused on this past year. Intensive Case Management helps clients attain identification and Housing First Kits supply clients with necessities once they are placed into housing, like dishes, toilet paper and other household items.
“We expect them to know how to do all of these things, but some people have been on the street for so long and don’t have any identification or know where to start the process,” she said. “Without an ID, they can’t do anything and most don’t even have birth certificates. Through our Housing First/Harm Reduction model we are able to take them from the streets, rehabilitate with on-site care, and get them housed. We advise them on how to get out of their current situation by leading them through every step.”
Government grants are received by HELP to fund specific programs, but at times only cover 80-85% of costs. With the support of local partners and corporations, the organization has been able to fully service its clients at its offices and at events in the community. One notable event is the KLUC Toy Drive where Sands Cares has been the lead sponsor for the past two years and along with other partners helped gather 8,100 bikes, $450,000 dollars in cash and gift cards and 32 trucks of toys for kids during the holidays.
“Sands Cares has the best staff and volunteers,” Quinn said. “It’s so important to have corporate partnerships. Our employees know The Venetian and The Palazzo and what the properties do in the community. Sands Cares will go out and find us what we need and our staff feels supported. They should be proud of their employees and their various efforts in the community.”