Two years ago, Las Vegas Sands and Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY) worked together to present the inaugural Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit, bringing our respective organizations together with community leaders to tackle this important issue on a large scale. Now, two years later, nearly 400 community and national civic leaders, government officials and youth with lived experiences gathered at The Venetian® Resort on Thursday, November 7, for the third annual Summit.
Last year’s Summit launched the Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness, and Summit 19 demonstrated the “Movement in Action,” with a day focused on four key track sessions designed to build out key strategies identified in the Plan. Facilitated by subject matter experts, the track sessions focused on:
The track sessions kicked off the next wave of action to address the Plan and netted out several key outcomes that will now be put into action. While our region still faces a situation where more than 1,200 youth are homeless on any given night with a service delivery system that can accommodate fewer than 24 percent of those youth, Summit 19 demonstrated the commitment our community has made to turning around those statistics – and, more importantly, to ensuring that the vulnerable young people enduring homelessness have the help and support they need to rise above their situations.
Attendees broke out to these individual track sessions throughout the day, and all gathered together for keynote presentations from Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus, Katy Miller of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and Housing and Urban Development regional director Christopher Patterson, along with video commendations from Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Congresswoman Susie Lee.
The day was capped by an inspired original performance piece from the Southern Nevada Homelessness Continuum of Care’s Youth Action Board – Young Adults in Charge (YAC), and NPHY’s leadership development program – NPHY Ambassadors. Entitled “Spotlight,” the piece featured youth with lived experience guiding attendees through different experiences of youth homelessness. From being at the mercy of caregivers suffering from substance abuse to seeing planned living arrangements fall through due to circumstances beyond their control, “Spotlight” showed there are many paths leading to—and in some cases out of—homelessness.
NPHY and Sands are dedicated to ensuring that youth homelessness is rare, brief and equitably addressed. Through the support of community stakeholders and the youth with lived experience themselves, Summit 19 continued the progress of this mission that is so vitally important to our community.