Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada has provided help to those who are most vulnerable for 78 years. And in addition to the 3,500 units of affordable housing already established by the group across the country, Catholic Charities say there remains a critical national shortage when it comes to housing.
But there’s an initiative that’s looking to change things around.
“Housing is the number one necessity other than food that you really need,” said Mark Tuttle, who’s part of the Renewing Hope Program.
“We have over 500 chronic homelessness in southern Nevada; that means people that have been homeless for more than two years,” said Deacon Thomas A. Roberts, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada.
Roberts says when it comes to the homeless population in southern Nevada, the numbers continue to rise.
“So many of the people that come in with mental health issues also then suffer from addiction issues because they start to use opioids and alcohol as the medication or the bandaid for the mental health then they develop a second problem,” Roberts said.
These concerns are one of the main reasons Catholic Charities USA launched the healthy housing initiative in Las Vegas. Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada will work with the archdiocese and health care providers.
And throughout this initiative, Catholic Charities Hopes to ensure that chronically homeless people have a home
“I’ve gotten over addiction; I’ve gotten over depression but now trying to get a job to create that sustainability, but then housing is the next step, said Mark Tuttle, member of the Renewing Hope Project.
Tuttle was once living on the streets, so he knows how hard it is to get the right help. He hopes this new pilot program will help him.
“Some of the hurdles I know that I would face — I have an eviction on my record. I haven’t been in a place for a while; I won’t have had a long sustainable job,” Tuttle said.
The goals of this 5-year plan include reducing homelessness by 20 percent, decreasing hospital readmission rates by 25 percent, and connecting 35 percent of the newly housed with long-term health services.
“To me this is pretty much proof that we have to be able to not only build affordable housing but think about these chronic overlapse with mental health and addiction,” Roberts said.
On another note, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $14 million to critical support agencies and programs in Nevada helping individuals and families struggling with homelessness.