Las Vegas Sun

October 14, 2019

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County earmarks $6.1 million for homeless assistance programs

Clark County commissioners voted today to provide $6.1 million for programs that help homeless people get into permanent housing.

The goal is to help 200 families find homes by assisting with things such as rent and security deposits, Clark County Social Service Director Michael Pawlak said.

The money will also help double to about 580 the number of beds at transitional shelters operated by agencies like HELP of Southern Nevada, HopeLink of Southern Nevada and Lutheran Social Services of Nevada.

The move is part of the county’s plan to spend $12 million from marijuana business license fees to fight homelessness. Last month, commissioners allocated $1.8 for HELP’s Shannon West Homeless Youth Shelter, a 166-bed facility for young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

HELP of Southern Nevada President and CEO Fuilala Riley shared a recent success story of the group helping reunite a single father and his son.

“His homelessness caused him and his young son to be separated,” Riley said. “Now he’s gainfully employed as a short-order cook and he is on track to leave the program and his son is reunited with him. We hope to hear great thing about him in the future.”

There are about 7,544 homeless people in Nevada on any given day, according to January 2018 data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Las Vegas and Clark County are among the major U.S. communities with the largest homeless populations, according to HUD.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said allocating money toward homelessness is important, especially for a district like his.

“I had a family at one point living in a car...a family of six living in a car for two months,” he said, calling the situation “heartbreaking.” With the aid of HELP of Southern Nevada, however, they are now in their own apartment, he said.