News | August 6, 2021
Sands’ longtime partner Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY) is commemorating 20 years of working to address and end youth homelessness in Southern Nevada. With a repertoire of services encompassing emergency intervention and assistance, housing solutions, education and employment support, health and wellness services, youth leadership development and systems-level advocacy – including through the annual Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit in partnership with Sands Cares – NPHY is the most comprehensive service provider tackling this critical social, human rights and public health issue.
“Youth homelessness remains an incredible concern for our community which has continued to rank among the nation’s highest,” said Arash Ghafoori, NPHY executive director. “While we’ve made so much progress over these last two decades, thousands of youths still need us each year. That’s why we’ve elevated our offerings to do more. In our early years, we focused on developing must-have services such as crisis intervention, emergency shelters and housing solutions, and now we’ve expanded to be the community’s leading champion and advocate for youth experiencing homelessness.”
Beyond the core services NPHY provides to youth, the nonprofit has in recent years expanded its wraparound services to help youth not only address their immediate circumstances but surpass them to become leaders in their chosen paths and advocates for the youth homelessness issue. For example, under NPHY’s leadership, formerly homeless youth helped champion a recently passed Nevada Assembly Bill, which has now become a Nevada state law that strengthens unaccompanied minors’ access to critical healthcare services. One immediate impact of the new law is the ability for unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
This accomplishment is one of many milestones that NPHY has achieved since its inception in 2001.
2002: Brought the National Safe Place Program to Southern Nevada
NPHY brought the National Safe Place Program to Southern Nevada for the first time.
A Safe Place is one designated as a haven for youth in crisis and can literally save the life of a young person in need. Led by NPHY and operated in partnership with Terrible Herbst convenience stores, the City of Las Vegas Fire Department, Henderson Libraries, the Las Vegas/Clark County Library District and the Regional Transportation Commission, Safe Place provides an around-the-clock entry point into NPHY’s comprehensive services at virtually every street corner in Southern Nevada, removing at-risk and homeless youth from dangerous situations and transitioning them to safety.
2010: Opened Southern Nevada’s only emergency shelter serving unaccompanied youth as young as 12
NPHY established the region’s first emergency shelter to accommodate unaccompanied youth as young as 12 years of age, providing a critical safety net in the community.
NPHY has continued to expand services at the shelter over time and, to date, has offered more than 7,000 nights of shelter to youth in need.
2010: Established the region’s most comprehensive drop-in center for homeless youth
One of NPHY’s core offerings is the NPHY Drop-In Center, which has had more than 114,000 youth visits since its inception.
The hub of NPHY’s comprehensive programs, the NPHY Drop-In Center also meets the immediate needs of youth experiencing homelessness, offering a safe place off the streets; basic needs resources such as food, clothing, and hygiene supplies; case management by licensed social workers; computer and Internet access; on-site medical care; and connections to shelter, housing and additional services provided by NPHY and partner agencies.
2017: Kicked Off The Movement to End Youth Homelessness in Southern Nevada
NPHY is the driver of The Movement, which engages civic and community leaders, policymakers and youth with lived experience in the mission to end youth homelessness in the region.
Launched at the first annual Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit presented by NPHY and Sands Cares in 2017, the Movement has led the community in developing and executing on the region’s first-ever definitive plan to address youth homelessness – the Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness.
In addition to the programs and initiatives NPHY operates, they have also been instrumental in championing numerous pieces of Nevada state legislation which have had a positive impact on youth experiencing homelessness, including:
2001: Right to Shelter Law
Enabling unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness to access life-sustaining care
2019: Assembly Bill 363
Removing barriers to acquiring important documents, making it easier for youth experiencing homelessness to obtain driver’s licenses, ID cards and birth certificates through elimination of fees and improvement of processes
2021: Assembly Bill 197
Empowering unaccompanied minors to access critical healthcare by eliminating a waiting period of as long as four months for youth in need of immediate care, expanding access to include mental and behavioral, dental, and other vital healthcare services, and establishing a simple process so that healthcare providers can implement the law correctly
“It’s fulfilling to look back on our success, but we must continue to fight until youth homelessness becomes rare, brief, non-recurring and equitably addressed in our community,” Ghafoori said. “No young person should have to live on the streets or lack the structure and support to realize their highest potential. When we empower youth to create the futures they want for themselves, we impact our entire community.”
Visit nphy.org to stay up-to-date on the organization’s progress and initiatives, or to get involved.