Armed with paint, tools and new household items, associates of Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas (KWLV) painted, repaired, and did “extreme makeovers” on seven housing units for homeless youth that are at least 40 years old. The homes are part of Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth’s (NPHY) Independent Living Program.
Local KWLV associates volunteered their time to help the nonprofit NPHY for their national RED Day service project, where company associates spend the day helping organizations in need to give back to their communities. Introduced in 2009, RED Day – Renew, Energize and Donate – is the second Thursday of May.
The needed NPHY renovations also included replacing fixtures and new furnishings and linens. KWLV previously addressed major plumbing issues and other structural repairs.
“My heart always has gone out to children in need, particularly homeless youth,” said Debbie Zois of Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas, who organized the renovation project, recalling her first involvement with homeless kids when her KWLV office donated sleeping bags to them. She subsequently got KWLV leadership involved in organizing all the NPHY donated items that were constantly being dropped off, resulting in continuous volunteer projects. “Our agents view RED Day as a great way to give back by putting their experience in the housing and real estate industry to work as well as engaging relationships they’ve developed with related contractors and vendors.”
She said they had several fundraising events prior to RED Day, raising more than $4,000 for the NPHY effort, and also were able to secure assistance from multiple contractors, plumbers, electricians, glass companies, cleaning companies, landscapers, window cleaning companies, appliance repair companies, painters, HVAC companies, and other vendors. Using their real estate relationships, they were able to get thousands of dollars of work and materials donated.
“We’re grateful to the many partners for helping us at the NPHY residential sites and supplying all the needed materials,” Zois said. “Comments throughout the day included: ‘Wow, it’s important to have a perspective of what is going on in your community and be aware,’ ‘I’m so happy I was here today and able to donate my time,” and ‘Thank you for including us. We really made a difference.’
“Our agents were incredibly moved by this project and realized what a massive impact we could make as a large team coming together.”
Arash Ghafoori, NPHY executive director, said, “We can’t thank Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas enough for this tremendous gift and the team’s continuous support. The homes look brand new, and the homeless kids who live there are so excited.”
NPHY’s Independent Living Program is a transitional housing program that provides homeless youth with housing, utilities, transportation, food and clothing. Additionally each program participant receives intensive case management, education and employment counseling and assistance, tutoring, weekly life skills classes and crisis counseling, and a variety of enrichment opportunities to help the youth grow into self-confident, healthy adults.
Last year, 100 percent of NPHY teens who graduated from the Independent Living Program exited to stable housing. Youth homelessness in Nevada ranks near the top in the nation, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness. During the 2013-2014 school year, the Clark County School District reported more than 9,000 homeless in schools. In addition, the National Runaway Switchboard reports that youth, ages 12-17, are at higher risk for homelessness than adults nationwide.
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