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Advocates release strategy to address youth homelessness in Las Vegas

Posted: 8:34 PM, Nov 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-03 15:24:10-04

On any given night in Clark County, an estimated 2,096 young adults are considered homeless.

What experts say is even more concerning is that 93 percent of them are sleeping on the streets, in their cars or even in abandoned buildings.

RELATED: Clark County has 3rd highest population of homeless youths, groups trying to help

These same experts came together Friday at the Venetian to move forward with a plan to reduce those numbers.

"Even though we may never be able to stop a youth from experiencing homelessness, what we can do is ensure they never have to turn to the streets, not even for one night," said Arash Ghafoori, executive director of the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth. 

That is the goal of a five-point plan being discussed at the Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit.

"I want that to be for every other student who is experiencing what I've experienced," said Kennedy Adams, a formerly homeless teen. 

Adams now has a job at the Venetian but when he was younger he had to couch surf.

His mother had medical problems and the family lost their apartment because of that. 

Adams is now helping with the plan to help other students because he knows firsthand what they may be going through. 

"You are fighting with yourself to understand what is going on," Adams said.

For the past year, the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth has led the group in building a five-pronged plan.

"A roadmap that we can all use to get together," said Ghafoori. 

One of the key issues: The need for youth housing.

Statistics show just 150 beds are available countywide for homeless youth.

The group is hoping to form more partnerships with companies to address this issue and raise money.

"Hopefully this summit and the work to come will create additional awareness and other companies will join us in jumping on board," said Ron Reese, with Las Vegas Sands.

The group also prioritizes their efforts with the upcoming legislative session.

They want to work with charities, the juvenile justice system and foster care system to make sure no child falls through the cracks.

"We realize that no one sector or not one system can solve this problem," said Ghafoori.  

The plan had several milestones to help track the effectiveness of their strategies including reducing the number of young adults considered homeless, increasing the number of beds available for those who are homeless and reducing the number of young adults who return to the streets.

Those wishing to help can reach out to NPHY on their website.