Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown and Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick during a commission meeting May 21.
The Clark County Commission unanimously approved $1.8 million of marijuana business license fees be allocated to help homeless youth and medically fragile homeless.
Tuesday’s vote comes after commissioners’ commitment in January to use the more than $9 million generated from the business licenses to go toward homeless services.
“We should have done this a long time ago, but I’m glad we’ve started now,” said Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick. “This is good for our community for the long term.”
The county directed $855,000 to expand services at HELP of Southern Nevada’s Shannon West Homeless Youth Center, which can house up to 166 at-risk youth from ages 16 to 22. Mike Pawlak, director of the county Department of Social Service, said the funds are expected to add 76 new beds along with needed caseworkers to provide wraparound services.
Additionally, the county will allocate $930,000 to go toward rapidly rehousing homeless individuals who have been discharged from the hospital. The county has contracted HELP of Southern Nevada and Health Plan of Nevada to aid medically fragile homeless obtain housing as well as case management. Pawlak said an additional 60 clients will be assisted.
“These two projects today represent the first two projects for the strategic plan that you have directed us to bring forward to spend marijuana license fee money to support the homeless,” he said.
Southern Nevada has been struggling to address its homeless and affordable housing crisis — something it can’t do without adequate funding.
On any given night, around 6,100 people experience homelessness in Southern Nevada. An estimated 64 percent are unsheltered. About 1,400 people are identified in the Homeless Management Information System queue as waiting for housing and other services.
During a March