Armed with paint, tools and new household items, Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas agents and business partners painted, repaired, and did “extreme makeovers” on aging housing for homeless youth who are part of Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth’s (NPHY) Independent Living Program (ILP) and staying at NPHY Emergency Shelters.
The work on six ILP facilities and two emergency shelters is a continuation of and upgrade to previous efforts on the more than 40-year-old properties by the Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas team for the sixth year in a row.
More than 200 local Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas agents volunteered their time to help the nonprofit NPHY for their national RED Day service project, where company associates spend the day helping organizations in need to give back to their communities. Introduced in 2009, RED Day – Renew, Energize and Donate – is the second Thursday of May. Joining the Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas group were many of their business partners and friends who donated in-kind services and their time.
Traci Human, who chairs the Culture Committee for Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas, led the charge on RED Day again this year. “We look forward to this day of community service every year. We’re very proud of what our KWLV agents, employees and partners have accomplished over the past several years,” said Traci. “What began as cleaning one unit six years ago, led by owner, Debbie Zois, has organically grown into rehabbing and maintaining seven units this year. That being said, the efforts from this one day of giving back to the community begin months ahead of time. We create teams, research needs, tour properties and locate vendors who are willing to help us by donating supplies and services. Fundraising includes car washes, ticket sales to the 51’s baseball games, and Facebook and GoFundMe fundraisers, to name a few.”
Brandon Ewing, Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas team captain for one of the NPHY properties, shared this story. “After everyone left, at about 5:30 p.m., Edith, one of our vendors, was still working on the bathroom – she’s a trooper. An NPHY Independent Living client was introduced to her new home in a big reveal. She walked in, and her mouth dropped and then she started smiling from ear to ear. She walked through the home in a trance, saying she couldn’t believe this was her new home…that it was clean…that it felt like home…that she felt safe. With a beautiful, innocent smile on her face, she started crying and thanking everyone in the house. She looked at me and gave me a hug. She hugged everyone there who helped give her a home. This is our ‘Why.’ We might be doing a small thing, but it’s a huge moment in the lives of these youth.”
The RED DAY initiative saves NPHY thousands of dollars in renovation, replacement and repair costs. Last year, it was estimated that the renovation saved NPHY more than $35,000, and that number is expected to be higher this year.
“We are so thankful for the Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas agents and their partners for their invaluable effort and time in helping us continue to house and make a home for NPHY’s homeless youth clients,” said Arash Ghafoori, NPHY executive director. “We couldn’t maintain our transitional housing and emergency shelters for these vulnerable youth without them. And the look and appreciation by the youth when they see their rooms and the rest of the renovation work is priceless. Many have never had anything as new or nice as what the Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas RED Day effort provides.”
Each year, Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas teams work hard to not only retrofit but to make each of the NPHY residences feel more home-like. “We add a more personalized touch to bedrooms and common areas based on youths’ interests with wall art, study areas, sports memorabilia and other items, and freshen up the personal spaces with new bedding and linens, pots and pans, and kitchenware,” added Human.
Specific renovation and repair work at the housing and emergency shelter sites also involves advanced landscaping, substantial roof repairs, shower and bathroom facilities repair, substantial kitchen remodels, new furniture and bedding where needed, and new tile flooring, appliances, windows, faucets, fixtures, and more. Study areas at several of the housing units also were added to maximize space. This year individual lockers were added to each property for clients.
“A very special thank you to our vendors and partners. We wouldn’t have this level of success without their kind hearts and generosity,”said Human. “We are proud to work with businesses who share our cultural spirit. These partners have donated kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, appliances, fixtures, paint, roofing, manpower, and a whole lot more. Some even provided lunch and refreshments.”
In addition to Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas associates, participating partners were: European Bath Kitchen Tile and Stone, Bridge Home Inspections, Mr. Tile, Cabinet Medics, Castle and Cooke Mortgage, Richmond American Homes, KB Homes, Guild Mortgage, Raysco, Best Mattress, Movement Mortgage, Atlas Marble & Granite, National Home Warranty, MC Plumbing, Accent Cabinetry & Flooring, Home Service Inc, Chicago Title, Access Services Group, North American Title, Lawyers Title, Women’s Council of Realtors, and AREAA (Asian Real Estate Association of America). Many have been volunteered for past NPHY RED Day initiatives.
The NPHY Independent Living Program is a transitional housing program that provides homeless youth with housing, utilities, transportation, food and clothing, case management, education and employment counseling and assistance, tutoring, life skills classes, crisis counseling, and enrichment opportunities to help them grow into self-sufficient, healthy adults. NPHY Emergency Shelters provide youth in crisis with much-needed shelter and emergency services while helping them transition to stable housing.
Information about the growing youth homelessness in Clark County, Nevada and the United States includes:
Youth Homelessness in Nevada
- Clark County/ Las Vegas was ranked No. 3 in the nation for the prevalence of unaccompanied homeless youth, and Nevada was ranked No. 1 in the nation for the rate of homeless youth living unsheltered on our streets, according to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report.
- Youth homelessness in our community is a serious and growing problem. In 2017, there were more than 2,000 unaccompanied homeless children and youth living on the streets or in homeless shelters on an average night in Southern Nevada.
- During the 2015-2016 school year, there were more than 14,000 homeless students enrolled in Clark County schools.
- During fiscal year 2016-2017, 122 youth spent 635 bed nights – safe and off the streets – at NPHY’s Emergency Shelters, which provide the growing homeless youth population with much-needed immediate shelter and emergency services while helping them transition to stable housing.
- During 2016-2017, 35 youth spent more than 6,939 bed nights in NPHY’s transitional housing program, which provides stable housing and wraparound services to homeless youth in Southern Nevada.
National Youth Homelessness
- The National Runaway Switchboard reports that youth, ages 12-17, are at higher risk for homelessness than adults nationwide.
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.