On November 14, Project Homeless Connect was held at Cashman Center in Las Vegas with over 150 service providers and 600 community volunteers. The event is a service and resource fair for people experiencing homelessness or are at-risk of becoming homeless. The services provided aim to break down barriers to housing and self-sufficiency.
“Each year the event becomes more and more comprehensive with additional service providers, which is wonderful,” Emily Paulsen, Executive Director of National Homeless Alliance (NHA), said. “Leaders from partner organizations serve to recruit services in their specialization. We try to increase services each year so the event has comprehensive service offerings.”
On any given night in Southern Nevada, more than 6,400 individuals who are homeless. More than 67 percent of homeless people are unsheltered, meaning they are living on the streets, in camps, cars or other places not meant for habitation. Through NHA, Project Homeless Connect aims to have services available to anyone experiencing homelessness. Services offered at the event included: legal aid, child support, identification services, hygiene materials, haircuts, health exams, Veteran services, housing assistance and food, with Catholic Charities and The Culinary Institute of Las Vegas providing a Thanksgiving dinner to all in attendance.
“My favorite part of this event is seeing the impact it has on so many vulnerable community members,” Paulsen said. “To see people smiling because they’re receiving housing, dental care or legal help is the best. They’re receiving help and hope. It is incredible to witness so many agency partners and volunteers giving and caring for our guests.”
At the event opening reception, lawmakers and homeless organization leaders emphasized the need to end homeless as well as hunger. With the majority of homeless being from Las Vegas, meaning they were living here before misfortune hit, the community is working to end homelessness by increasing available housing options through HUD and Congress incentives.
“Through Project Homeless Connect, we are helping the most vulnerable people in our community,” Sandra Shulman, President of the Board for NHA, said. “We have over 3,600 participants that need our help. The participation of public and private sectors increases every year. We are giving what we can to those in need, but the numbers keep increasing.”
Established in 1992, NHA has convened community partners in the planning and execution of 25 Project Homeless Connect events. Over the last five years, these events have assisted more than 15,000 homeless clients in accessing resources and services. The mission of NHA is to create impactful partnerships and promote collaboration among private, public and non-profit sectors through advocacy, events and education. At the event, Sands Cares, the corporate giving program of Las Vegas Sands, was honored as the 2017 Sponsor of the Year, maintaining its goal of being a good corporate citizen in the communities in which we operate. For Las Vegas Sands, homelessness has been one of the major initiatives in its corporate giving and support efforts.
“We have been so impressed with NHA over the years,” Mandy Martin, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at Las Vegas Sands, said. “They are impactful and innovative, with new ideas to serve this population. We are proud to support an organization that does so much in the community.”