Built for Zero, a national initiative to end chronic homelessness, launched the Permanent Supportive Housing Campaign in Las Vegas, making Southern Nevada one of 70 communities participating in this comprehensive effort. Led by organizations including U.S. Vets, HELP of Southern Nevada and Lutheran Social Services of Nevada as housing providers, the local group’s goal is to become the first large community in the nation to end chronic homelessness.
Built for Zero provides permanent supportive housing to the chronically homeless in line with the Housing First Harm Reduction Model by delivering housing solutions underwritten through public and private sector grants, along with wrap-around supportive services that enable the homeless to overcome the situations and problems that contribute to their homelessness. Las Vegas Sands, through its corporate giving program Sands Cares, is the first organization to provide funding for the Permanent Supportive Housing Campaign with a commitment of $213,500, which will house 10 chronically homeless individuals.
“To end chronic homelessness, we must add permanent supportive housing units in the community because we are not adequately equipped to meet the needs of the population,” said Emily Paulsen, executive director of Nevada Homeless Alliance and member of the Built for Zero leadership team in Las Vegas. “Cities that have combined permanent housing support with wrap-around intensive case management and support services have seen the best results in curbing chronic homelessness. Our goal is to get to functional zero for chronic homelessness in Las Vegas.”
According to the 2017 Homeless Count in January 2018, 6,490 people will experience homelessness on any given night in Southern Nevada, with 661 people being defined as chronically homeless in Las Vegas, meaning they have experienced homelessness for at least one year or have experienced at least four episodes of homelessness within the past three years totaling 12 months. In addition, these individuals are also struggling with mental or physical disabilities or substance abuse problems. Currently, Las Vegas/Clark County does not have enough beds to support the homeless population in Las Vegas. Through the Built for Zero model, the cost to house one chronically homeless person is $21,370, which includes permanent housing and intensive case management, instead of $73,000 using public resources, which is the cost to taxpayers per individual for incarceration, hospitalization and other services.
“Homelessness is one of our region’s most serious issues, and it’s critical that the private sector get involved with our community service providers to help make an impact,” said Ron Reese, senior vice president of global communications and corporate affairs at Las Vegas Sands. “We have made the first pledge to the Permanent Supportive Housing Campaign because it has developed a solid model for success with proven results in other regions. We want other local businesses to realize that this problem will not solve itself. Everyone has to do something about it now.”
Las Vegas Sands has worked with community leaders and service providers to understand the challenges the city and county face in addressing homelessness in the community and is a supporter of the Housing First Harm Reduction Model to address chronic homelessness. Through Sands Cares, the company has made a long-term commitment to battle the homelessness problem, supporting high-impact programs such as Built for Zero, as well as its other partnerships with HELP of Southern Nevada, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, and other support services for the homeless. To learn more and donate, visit www.builtforzerosn.org.