Monica Gresser created BRAZENarchitecture in 2011 to develop commercial, educational, and municipal work on a sustainable and environmentally impactful level. Her interest and involvement with responsible community design and development quickly became a passion and is now a part of BRAZENarchitecture’s business. In 2015, Gresser started BRAZENconversations, a series of discussions revolving around social issues affecting Las Vegas and the surrounding communities. It was through an open dialogue examining youth homelessness that she and her team began a relationship with Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY). Together, NPHY and BRAZEN worked to develop ideas that led to the design renovations for the NPHY drop-in center. Gresser is passionate about housing solutions for the homeless and near-homeless populations in the Las Vegas Valley. Gresser’s architectural efforts cover 25 years of work all over the country. She studied architecture at Texas Tech University’s College of Architecture, the University of Houston’s Gerald D. Hines School of Architecture and Design and the Centre d’Etude d’Archuitecture et d’Urbanisme in Saintes, France. Since creating BRAZEN, she has been working with non-profit service providers and advocates to help find solutions to end homelessness and improve neglected neighborhoods in the Las Vegas Valley. She is a Southern Nevada Regional Planning Commission Continuum of Care Board Member and leads the Joint-Housing Working Group sub-committee that focuses on housing for the homeless and the near-homeless.
What is your role in the development of the Plan?
I’m not directly involved in developing the Plan, but I have offered my knowledge to counsel youth who might be interested in following a path into design or construction. My Team is currently working on training opportunities for people who are interested in our field of work thru community efforts.
Why is it important for you to join The Movement?
I grew up with the privilege of having parents who loved me, kept me safe, and clothed and fed me. We all deserve that. Joining The Movement means supporting youth through their formative years be that with housing, education, food, clothing, and emotional support.
What do you think is the most important element needed to end youth homelessness?
I don’t think there is just one, but there are several elements and responses that must be able to occur simultaneously or be available to youth at that singular moment in their lives when they are most vulnerable. That’s where the community plays a role: together, we support and guide homeless youth towards stability and safety. If the community can catch youth before they become homeless, society would be the ultimate winner.
What is your hope for youth homelessness?
Youth can find solace in the kindness of people who want to help them find safety, stability, and direction in their lives. We can support youth as they grow, teach and encourage them to create better lives for themselves. Through love, respect, and support we can help youth live better lives than the ones they had before they were homeless.