Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY) and Las Vegas Sands, with our continuous efforts to combat youth homelessness and dedication to being a good corporate citizen through our corporate giving program, Sands Cares, hosted the first annual Intersections: The 2017 Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit, at The Venetian on Thursday, November 2. The summit was held to accelerate community awareness of the youth homeless problem and kick-start a year-long planning process. The plan is a community-wide master plan targeted at reducing the high incidence numbers and addressing the various problems underscored by youth homelessness – from criminal behavior to health consequences.
“Nevada is number four in the nation in unaccompanied homeless youth by 24.7%,” Dr. Patricia Cook-Craig, Associate Professor, UNLV School of Public Policy and Leadership, said. “We are also number one in unsheltered unaccompanied homeless youth. That means that they have no family, but also no home to go to at night. Over 40% associate as LGBTQ. They have been rejected by their families and now they are homeless. We have to think how to get ahead of this problem.”
According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the Annual Homeless Assessment Report from 2013-2016, youth make up a much larger segment of the overall homeless population in Southern Nevada than the national average. Risk factors include family breakdown, which includes physical and sexual abuse, parental rejection, economic instability, and housing instability with the consequences ranging from PTSD to criminal activity.
“There currently is no streamlined entry or exit into the established services,” Cook-Craig said. “We use the same services designed for adults for the youth. It just doesn’t work. The policy response for homeless youth is lacking.”
With support from the UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs and the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the event showcased the youth homelessness issue through data and personal stories, as well as insights from a range of experts. Highlights at the summit included a personal account of youth homelessness by NPHY alumnus, Giuseppe Pizano and a private screening of soon-to-be released documentary film Lost In America, which follows director Rotimi Rainwater's journey to shine a light on youth homelessness in America.
To review presentations, download the UNLV State of Youth Homelessness white paper and follow the planning process for the Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness begun today at the Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit, please visit http://www.nphy.org/themovement.