The cost of operating Las Vegas’ homeless Courtyard has more than doubled since it opened in July 2018.
The budget for the 24/7, open-air Courtyard Homeless Resource Center where the homeless can access services has increased from about $3 million originally to $4.3 million the second year to $7 million this year, according to city spokesman Jace Radke.
“The $4.3 million number was when the Courtyard was operating with fewer people visiting,” Radke said. “At that time we had around 100-150 folks a day visiting. Now we regularly see as many as 300 at the Courtyard at any given time.”
“We are constantly evaluating our services and how we can better assist our homeless population so that, with the help of the providers in the Corridor of Hope, we can put them on a path to being healthy, housed and hired.”
Under the city’s new anti-camping ordinance — which makes it a misdemeanor to camp downtown and in residential areas when there is available space in shelters — more people are being directed to the Courtyard, off Foremaster Lane and Las Vegas Boulevard North.
Kathi Thomas-Gibson, the city’s director of community services, told the Review-Journal last month that the city would hire two additional security guards per shift and additional navigators to help connect guests to services.
Construction to expand the Courtyard is slated to start this year, with the plan to increase its footprint by demolishing the wall between two properties at the site to add additional space. Also, there will be a federally certified health center to address people’s needs, including medical, mental health and addiction services.
During an interview for the facility’s one-year anniversary, Thomas-Gibson said the budget grew in the first year in part because the city took over operations from third-party vendors and partly because it drew far more homeless people than officials had anticipated.
The unpredictable increase in demand makes it hard to forecast cost, she told the Review-Journal in July.
“I can’t see around corners what happens if we hit 500 instead of 300,” Thomas-Gibson said. “Five hundred is supposed to be in 2021, but what happens if we hit that in 2020?”