The United States has the power and resources to end homelessness once and for all, which would not only benefit those suffering on the streets but would also invigorate local neighborhoods and economies, curbing crime and encouraging business. We’ve proposed a $45 million, five-point plan to Clark County and the City of Las Vegas to make this happen, which we believe can be scaled nationally once we make a positive impact in our city.
- Increase Shelter Beds Available: there should always be an equal number of shelter beds available to the number of people experiencing homelessness in the city. Once these beds are made available, it should be mandatory that people sleep there.
- Medical & Mental Health Treatment: Once their housing needs are met, we must provide excellent medical and mental health treatment, including treatment for SUDs. Individuals should receive quality amenities from top-notch doctors and clinicians.
- Community Education: building public awareness of the solution is crucial since people are interacting with individuals experiencing homelessness daily. This is a social issue that needs to be addressed by all in the community. It will require broad-based community understanding for us to get the people who need help into shelters where they can access the treatment and support they need to rebuild their lives and become productive members of society.
- HMIS: Data collection is imperative to track progress once patients are moved into shelters, ensuring that outcomes are measured in a robust manner and can pre-empt and prevent relapses.
- Legislation: While it seems harsh, we need to end entitlements for the homeless population, including programs to provide them with food and other resources while they live unhoused. These resources should be widely available to them within the shelters but providing them on the streets often incentivizes continued homelessness by discouraging individuals suffering from SUDs from moving into a shelter where they can no longer access substances — in cities like Las Vegas, shelter beds sit open because homeless individuals don’t want to move into them.
- Specialty Court: Homeless court programs often target homeless veterans, therefore their mission emulates Veterans Courts. Homeless courts work closely with community shelters and other housing agencies and focus on promoting access to court. They frequently assist participants with outstanding criminal warrants and aim to reduce recidivism for nonviolent low-level offenders. Specialty courts are problem-solving court strategies designed to address the root causes of criminal activity by coordinating efforts of the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, lawn enforcement, treatment, mental health services, and social service agencies.