Intersections: The 2017 Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit

Southern Nevada has one of the highest incidences of youth homelessness in the nation, while the State of Nevada ranked first in the nation for the rate (82%) of unaccompanied homeless children and youth living unsheltered on our streets, according to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR). The 2017 Summit was the first of its kind in the region to bring community leaders together across sectors to tackle this pressing, complex issue head-on.

The event received support from Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval, United States Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Dean Heller, Mayor of the City of Las Vegas Carolyn Goodman, and the Chair of the Clark County Commission, Steve Sisolak. NPHY and Sands Cares also received proclamations from Clark County and the City of Las Vegas marking November 2, 2017, as the official start of the movement to end youth homelessness in Southern Nevada.

Summit attendees included representatives from non-profits, federal, state, and local governments, schools, colleges, and universities, faith and civic organizations, banks and financial institutions, foundations and other philanthropic groups, medical, insurance, and other social services providers, the real estate community, large and small businesses, and many individual concerned citizens.

Highlights of the inaugural summit included:

  • An overview of the regional landscape by local experts and the official kick-off of the Valley-wide movement to end youth homelessness in Southern Nevada
  • The release of “The State of Youth Homelessness in Southern Nevada,” a regional assessment of youth homelessness by an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Greenspun College of Urban Affairs
  • A review of the national policy landscape by Darla Bardine, J.D., executive director of the National Network for Youth (NN4Y), the United States’ largest public education and policy advocacy organization devoted to homeless youth
  • A moving personal account of youth homelessness by NPHY alumnus, Giuseppe Pizano
  • 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
  • Interactive focus group sessions exploring the intersections between youth homelessness and other key community issue areas, including human trafficking, education, addressing needs of vulnerable populations.

The 2017 Summit marked the beginning of a year-long planning process to convene service providers, civic leaders, government officials, and members of the business community to build the Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness, an integrated, community-wide response to youth homelessness in the Las Vegas Valley. Once drafted, the plan will be unveiled at the 2018 Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit.

More information on the movement to end youth homelessness in the Las Vegas Valley and the development of the Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness can be found at www.nphy.org/themovement.

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