U.S. VETS – Las Vegas and Communities in Schools of Nevada have been named as the 2019 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for Las Vegas for their work helping homeless or extremely low-income military veterans and their families transition into sustainable jobs and housing, and helping more economically disadvantaged high school students graduate.
According to the 2019 Point In Time Homeless Count for Clark County, while veteran homelessness across Clark County has slowly decreased in recent years, with nearly 560 veterans living on the streets nightly, chronic homelessness increased by nearly 20 percent over last year and those entering homelessness are staying on the streets longer. For teens in the region, despite record level graduation rates in recent years, there are still more than 4,500 high school seniors who failed to graduate from Clark County schools last year, which contributes to higher unemployment rates and significantly less earned income potential for these young adults.
“While Southern Nevada’s economy continues to be strong, far too many of our most vulnerable community members are at risk of being left behind as hundreds of local military veterans and thousands of local teens from economically disadvantaged areas face mounting barriers to financial stability,” said Al Welch, Las Vegas market president, Bank of America. “The work of Communities in Schools and U.S. VETS is vital to helping these populations attain and sustain economic independence, and the Neighborhood Builders program will help scale their programs so that even more at-risk individuals can live up to their potential and build a path toward stability and growth.”
U.S. VETS – Las Vegas is the largest provider of services to homeless and at-risk veterans in the community, having helped reduce veteran homelessness in Southern Nevada by more than 40 percent through a continuum of services starting with housing but also providing employment, transportation, therapy and financial assistance with the goal of each client’s independence being sustainable. The Neighborhood Builders grant will help U.S. VETS – Las Vegas cover the costs of three staff – including a licensed therapist – along with the costs for a new custom-built vehicle to transport veterans with wheelchairs and motorized scooters instead of their relying on public transportation, and increased services for disabled clients at the organization’s permanent supportive housing facilities.
“U.S.VETS is honored to have been chosen as a 2019 Neighborhood Builder recipient. This funding will allow us to better meet the needs of the formerly homeless veterans now living in our programs,” said Shalimar Cabrera, executive director, U.S. VETS. “As our staff continues to grow in size, the leadership development opportunity offered by Bank of America’s program is invaluable to help develop new skills to provide exemplary service for our clients.”
Communities in Schools (CIS) is the nation’s largest and most effective K-12 dropout prevention organization. Its Nevada affiliate CIS Nevada works with schools, businesses and the surrounding community to help disadvantaged students stay in school and succeed in life by placing full-time site coordinators on campus who work directly with students, administration and parents. CIS Nevada has grown from just four schools to more than 70, serving 65,000 students this year – 90 percent of whom are from low-income households that historically have a higher risk of dropping out. Today, Clark County graduation rates are at an all-time high, allowing the program to focus on additional factors students face such as trauma, behavioral health and school safety. The Neighborhood Builders grant will help the organization expand into 32 additional schools over the next three years, more than half to be in Southern Nevada.
“At Communities In Schools of Nevada, our mission is to meet the needs of more than 63,000 students statewide with a vast network of community resources that ensure they are prepared and ready to learn,” said Tami Hance-Lehr, CEO, Communities In Schools of Nevada. “There is no better way to build the foundation of neighborhood and community than by strengthening our future generations. As a two-time recipient of a Bank of America Neighborhood Builders grant, Communities In Schools of Nevada is grateful for the vote of confidence in our work and for the generous contribution that expands our ability to meet the growing need.”
Over the past 15 years, Bank of America has invested $240 million in 49 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,000 nonprofits and helping more than 2,000 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills. Winners are selected by local community leaders. Neighborhood Builders is just one example of how Bank of America deploys capital in communities, builds cross-sector partnerships, and promotes socioeconomic progress as part of its approach to responsible growth.