weather icon Clear

Clark County OKs $6.1M to help homeless families with kids

The Clark County Commission voted Tuesday to allocate more than $6.1 million to add hundreds more beds for homeless families with children. And they need every dollar they can get.

“By state, we have the fewest affordable and available rental homes in the country,” Assistant County Manager Kevin Schiller said during a presentation to commissioners. “It’s a national crisis, and at the top of the chain we sit there, in terms of how we address it.”

The money, from marijuana business license fees, was awarded to HopeLink of Southern Nevada, HELP of Southern Nevada and Lutheran Social Services of Nevada and is expected to add 594 beds in mostly short-term rentals.

That’s more than double the number of beds available now, said Mike Pawlak, the county’s director of Social Service. The money will be used also to hire six more case managers. The goal is also to help reunite families or prevent parents from losing their children to the county system when they become homeless, he said.

“Essentially, our system has a bottleneck with about 200 families, and we said we would come back with an intervention. This does that,” Pawlak said. “Our strategic plan was to empty the queue for those families with children that are waiting to be housed.”

Pawlak’s presentation said dwindling federal investments, rising construction costs, rising rents and job growth in low-wage occupations contribute to the housing problem.

The commission’s vote is part of a plan help the county’s roughly 6,000 unsheltered homeless.

Last month, it directed nearly $1.8 million in marijuana business license fees to open 76 new beds for young homeless people at the Shannon West Homeless Youth Center and 60 new beds for those with medical issues after they’re discharged from hospitals.

Commissioners have reserved $9.7 million in projected marijuana fees for homeless initiatives in fiscal year 2020.

The county has 503 units under construction at six affordable housing apartment complexes and about 700 more units planned in the near future. But there is still a shortage of nearly 140,000 low-income units in the county, Schiller said.

Commissioners also discussed ways to spur developers to partner with the county and to acquire land to build more affordable housing.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said he was excited about the board’s efforts and the opportunity to “set precedent” addressing the county’s affordable housing crisis.

“This board understands that one size does not fit all,” he said of the vote. “We did something epic here today. We’re on the path for something even more epic.”

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.