Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth was just awarded two new federal grants totaling $825,000 that will bring more services and higher-quality programs to more homeless youth in Southern Nevada.
One grant – $450,000 over three years – enhances community collaboration to build and operate a best practice mentor service program for girls and boys, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, who are at risk for or are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic sex trafficking in Southern Nevada. Officially called the OJJDP FY 16 Mentoring for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Sex Trafficking Initiative, it was issued through the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention under the U.S. Department of Justice and was one of less than 10 awards made nationwide.
The second grant – $375,000 over three years – increases the hours of the NPHY Drop-In Center, NPHY’s anchor facility, and doubles NPHY emergency shelter capacity, creating four new emergency shelter beds dedicated to runaway and homeless youth under age 18. Called the Basic Center Program, the grant was issued through the Administration for Children and Families under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“As a father and a grandfather, it is heartbreaking for me to see vulnerable children who don’t have a roof over their head or a place to call home. These grants will make a real difference in their lives and ensure access to the essential services they need to thrive,” said Sen. Harry Reid. “I thank DOJ and HHS for their support, and I commend NHPY for its 15 years of success in serving the Silver State’s homeless youth. We have a sacred responsibility to ensure all our children have the same opportunity to succeed and achieve their dreams. Our youth deserve better and we must do better by them.”
Rep. Dina Titus said, “It is our responsibility to ensure that every child can live a life free from exploitation in a safe environment with responsible adults. These grants from the DOJ and HHS will give Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth vital resources to get [homeless] children off the streets and counsel young victims of human trafficking. We must help to eradicate the heinous crimes of trafficking and address the social ills it creates in our society. We also must remain vigilant so we can recognize and report any suspicious activity.”
The highly competitive grants are bringing $825,000 in new and additional federal funds to Nevada.
“We’re honored to be awarded these federal grants that will allow us to help even more of the estimated 14,000 homeless youth in our community,” said Arash Ghafoori, executive director of NPHY, Southern Nevada’s most comprehensive provider of homeless youth services. “We’re so thankful for these new federal investments. The OJJDP grant is new to Nevada, and the Basic Center Program grant is new to NPHY. The investments take on greater significance considering Nevada is one of the least ranked states in the nation for securing federal grant funding. We’re appreciative of the recognition by the Department of Justice and Department of Housing and Human Services of the work NPHY does and our position as a community leader on the issue of youth homelessness and programs helping these vulnerable kids with basic survival needs and a path to self-sufficiency.”
For the OJJDP grant, NPHY serves as the lead applicant and awardee and will collaborate with local partners to address the substantial need in Southern Nevada for enhanced awareness of and services for the LGBTQ youth population. This will occur through the Southern Nevada “Power ON!” Collaborative Mentoring Project, a new coordinated initiative of NPHY, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada, Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, and The Embracing Project to empower and support high-risk youth to “Power ON” to their full potential. Funding will enable the “Power ON!” collaboration to bring together and enhance current community resources to offer targeted, best practice training, outreach, mentoring, and direct services that focus on the specialized needs of children who are at risk or are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic sex trafficking in Southern Nevada.
Basic Center Program funding allows NPHY to add 21 more service hours each week at its Drop-In Center to provide homeless youth with emergency shelter, food, clothing, counseling and referrals for health care earlier in the morning, later in the evening and on Saturdays. This will allow NPHY to be open during critical hours, before and after school, and on a weekend day, a time when many homeless youth struggle to access vital, immediate needs services.
“Additional safe, age-appropriate shelter services for runaway and homeless youth are needed now more than ever in Southern Nevada,” said Ghafoori, citing 2015 HUD research showing Las Vegas/Clark County had the second highest total number of unaccompanied homeless children and youth residing here on a single night compared to other major metropolitan areas in the country, and the largest percentage of youth in nation who are living on the streets unsheltered with 88 percent of the 825 unaccompanied homeless minors enumerated in the 2015 Southern Nevada homeless point-in-time count. “As Southern Nevada’s most comprehensive service provider for homeless youth, with 15 years of success serving homeless youth in our community, NPHY has the experience, knowledge, staffing, and structure necessary to help fill this critical service gap in Southern Nevada.”
About Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth
Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth is the most comprehensive service provider for more than 14,000 homeless youth in Southern Nevada, serving hundreds of youth through its core programs and by touching the lives of thousands more through outreach each year. Programs stabilize homeless teens’ lives, meeting their immediate needs and providing a safe, supportive environment and a path to self-sufficiency. They include: Outreach, Safe Place Mobile Crisis Intervention, Operation Go Home Family Reunification, Drop-In Center, Emergency Shelter, and Independent Living Program. For information and to support NPHY’s critical work to get homeless youth off the streets, visit www.nphy.org or follow NPHY on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nevadapartnershipforhomelessyouth.