Homeless youth center gets upgrade; moves to newer and bigger location

LAS VEGAS - Nevada has the fourth highest number of homeless youth in the country. There are more than 1,600 people between ages 16 and 24 who have don't have a place they can call their home.

However, a local non-profit wants to put a dent in the on-going crisis. 

For more than a year, DelRio Perkins has been living at the Shannon West Homeless Youth Center, which is one of many services provided by the organization: Help of Southern Nevada. The 22-year-old moved from Flint, Michigan in search of a new beginning but things didn't go as planned and he found himself homeless, living on the street.

"I never intended on anything like this happening," Perkins said.

Soon Perkins will pack his bags and move to a new room in a new facility because the organization is moving the shelter to a bigger and newer location near Flamingo Road east of Maryland Parkway.   

The new facility was built from the ground up, and once it's completed, it will house up to 166 homeless youth in southern Nevada. That's more than double the capacity of the current youth center.

The president and CEO of the non-profit, Fuilala Riley gave 8 News NOW a tour of the 37,000 square foot building which features several common areas.

"We'll have a pool table," Riley said.

There will also be a larger kitchen and cafeteria for the youth living at the facility.

"At this one, we'll be able to sit everyone that lives here at the same time," Riley said.

The additional space and staff will allow the organization to help more homeless youth with a place to stay and the skills to become self-sufficient.

"This isn't an overnight shelter. this is a full on program to look at every little thing that might be causing their homelessness," said Heather Engle, director of Shannon West Homeless Youth Center.

As for Perkins, he says he's on his way to overcoming homelessness.

"It's absolutely exciting," Perkins said.

By this summer, Perkins will be attending UNLV and living closer to campus at the new homeless youth center.

The project has been eight years in the making and costs $10 million.
It's set to open in mid-July.


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