Downtown Las Vegas forum explores ways to address homelessness

A young girl Kenny Wilson saw as he walked across San Antonio’s Haven for Hope campus stuck in his mind — she looked just like his 11-year-old granddaughter.

“I went in a stairwell and wept,” Wilson recalled as he spoke before a group gathered for a forum on homelessness in downtown Las Vegas Thursday night.

Wilson is the president and CEO of the 22-acre Haven for Hope, a campus where San Antonio’s homeless population can seek a range of services. The city of Las Vegas’ new courtyard project is based in part on the San Antonio model.

Mental health issues have been pervasive in the people who have sought services and stayed at Haven for Hope since it opened in 2010, Wilson said.

“It’s all about mental health, in my opinion,” hesaid.

Addressing mental health issues that contribute to “chronic and systemic homelessness” is key, said Deacon Tom Roberts, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada.

“That’s what we need to solve in the courtyard if we want to make real and meaningful change,” Roberts said.

Corridor of Hope

Las Vegas launched the courtyard last year at Foremaster Lane and Las Vegas Boulevard North. The area is known as the “Corridor of Hope,” where shelters and other homeless service providers are clustered. Las Vegas’ courtyard now essentially consists of a parking lot and older buildings where the city has been offering many of the services planned for the full-scale courtyard during the day.

The city’s courtyard is aimed at serving the homeless population in the downtown Las Vegas area.

“We’re not going to solve this with 5 acres in downtown Las Vegas,” Roberts said, adding the courtyard should be a model that can be replicated throughout the valley.

The Downtown Vegas Alliance put on Thursday’s Successes and Insights on Homelessness forum at Las Vegas City Hall. Alliance Executive Director Michael Vannozzi moderated the panel discussion and ended the evening pushing for more local collaboration on homelessness issues.

“It’s not an issue one city can tackle alone,” Vannozzi said.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said the talk about the valley’s homeless issues has persisted for years but is “useless” without measurable action.

“So much talk, so many meetings, but never change, never impact, never results,” Goodman said.

’There’s no one way”

San Antonio’s Haven for Hope has about 1,700 people staying on the campus, split between dorms and an open-air courtyard.

Haven for Hope’s dorms have a higher barrier for entry than the courtyard; no sex offenders are allowed to stay there. The courtyard has a lower barrier for entry: people can be admitted if they’re inebriated.

Of the 148 agencies that provide services on the campus, 36 of them have offices there.

“What I’m not going to do is represent to you that Haven for Hope is what you need to do,” Wilson said. “It is a way. It is not the way. … There’s no one way.”

Las Vegas’ courtyard serves as a “low-barrier, triage” entry point for homeless people, said Kathi Thomas-Gibson, Las Vegas’ community resource manager.

A roughly $15 million courtyard will be built out over a few years, eventually operating 24/7, with a sleeping area. Outreach teams will make contact with homeless people and encourage them to seek services at the courtyard.

Unlike San Antonio’s project, which touched off with tens of millions of private dollars, Las Vegas doesn’t have significant private investment in its project.

The city has funding lined up for the campus startup and build-out, but needs to find another funding source for operations in future years.

City officials are seeking a “stronger and more immediate partnership” from the private sector, Goodman said.

Wilson urged Las Vegans not to view homelessness just as “we need to get people off the streets.”

“These are people that need your help,” Wilson said.

Contact Jamie Munks at or 702-383-0340. Follow @Journo_Jamie_ on Twitter.

Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like