By Chuck N. Baker
In Las Vegas, Veterans Villages are a lot like Starbucks. Every time you look, seems there is a new one, popping up all over town. Recently, city officials helped Director Arnold Stalk open the fourth Veterans Village, to provide emergency, transitional and permanent housing residence for veterans.
The on-site services include: 24/7 crisis intervention center, medical and mental health services, job referral and training. Also included at the locations are nutritional services from Three Square Regional Food Bank and other contributory accommodations aimed at the elimination of homelessness and poverty in southern Nevada. Veterans Village is a collaborative between the city and SHARE Family Housing Corporation with headquarters located in the Travelodge building.
Stalk told the many attendees at the opening of Veterans Village number four, “When we first started I called on the City of Las Vega, and the first response was really great.”
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said, “I am so proud of those who make Las Vegas their home. Arnie has taken it upon himself to be the leader when it comes to helping veterans find housing.” She asked all veterans in the audience to stand and be recognized adding, “Thank you Arnie, for returning our veterans to a better life. Arnie makes a difference to so many. He tells his clients, ‘you never have to feel less because you were homeless.’”
Las Vegas City Councilwoman Olivia Diaz said she grew up in the ward that Veterans Village number 4 is located. She praised the complex for having what she said are core values that provide committed assistance to veterans. She said the facility is another milestone adding, “I know it’s not the last.”
Councilwoman Victoria Seaman shared that she comes from a family of veterans. “It’s an exciting time to be on the City Council because of our collaboration with Veterans Village.”
Fred Wagar, NDVS Deputy Director of Programs and Services struck a different note. He invited Stalk to expand his operation to the northern part of the state to help homeless veterans in the Reno area.
Stalk said the current location, “Is a piece of the private-sector, with an imagined master plan designed to end homelessness.” He explained, “We cannot solve a homeless problem in southern Nevada and across the United States without developing homes with intensive supportive services. By developing such facilities, no one is ever left behind.”
Residents attend 12-step meetings to help them further transition more broadly into society. While they gain encouragement and confidence, they are helped with pro bono services and products including high-quality food from Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and other businesses.
When needed, functional clothing and comfortable shoes are provided as an adjunct to successful employment interviews. It was noted, while the majority of units are reserved for veterans, the agreement with the city includes reserving 10 units for individuals staying at the city’s Courtyard Homeless Resources Center. The council also voted to lease 15 units through the Women’s Development Center.
Each unit has a kitchenette, a shower and other amenities. Titus summed up the project by telling veterans, elected officials and other dignitaries packed into the room, “It is so much more than a roof over your head. It’s all-encompassing effort to help veterans get back on their feet, back into the community, and back to a normal life.”