Updates (During COVID-19 Emergency)
Bright Star assisted a high school ROTC student to get into Shannon West and store her things.
A new client who was stranded in Las Vegas from Chicago with no ID and a traumatic past in shelters was able to be placed renting a room from a good mentor in the community and is working to get into a place on her own.
One youth who is at risk of homelessness after losing income from COVID was able to get rent paid by United Way and get food cards from Bright Star.
One youth who was in an abusive situation and had found a work/rent situation had that situation fall through and is back in their families home. Still working with them if they need support when they are ready.
We have two other youth with whom we are still working, one having lost income from COVID, and the other being kicked out by family.
One of the youth we had helped one night was able to stabilize, get enough money to move back to a supportive place, got a car and an apartment and is doing great. She was very appreciative. She texted the following: “I was just checking in with u. I made it to OK and I got a car and stuff now. I appreciate everything u did for me despite us unknowingly going thru a pandemic. Love you guys and keep up your awesome philanthropy”
In the News:
Dealing with the Corona Virus Emergencies
We had an emergency the evening of Saturday Match 28, 2020. The Las Vegas Salvation Army was closing down for 2 nights due to an employee having been exposed to the virus. All the residents, including our Trans clients, had no where to go except for an open parking lot exposed to the elements which the City of Las Vegas in its magnanimous gesture chose to put homeless people there. It is incredible that with 1,000's of empty hotel and motel rooms, this was the best the City could do. Incredible!
At this late hour we were faced with several options to care for our vulnerable trans clients.
1. One option which we just could not accept was for our Trans clients to join the 100's of homeless in that parking lot, a recipe for violence and exposures.
2. Get tents, buy them at Wall mart, put them in the Center's parking lot... several issues, liability, safety, getting the Center's Board to approve on such a short notice.
3. President Raffin offered the use the yard at one of a property he had recently purchased to house homeless GLBTQ youth to put the tents, issues: time line, liability and safety but that would be better than option 1
4. Since there were 5 vacancies in these 2 properties, he thought it would be better to put our clients inside. However, the units are going through extensive renovations and the project manager informed him that none of the units were habitable, they were all torn up, no bathrooms, no heat, no water.
So President Raffin in consultation with Dr. Ray Mac Farlane (who is the coordinator between Bright Star and The Center) went to option 5, he authorized putting up the Trans clients in hotels for the 2 nights.
The employee tested negative, The Salvation Army re-opened the next day.
LGBTQ+ Community Resource, The Center, Announces Grand Re-Opening of the LGBTQ Safety Dorm
The Center partners with Salvation Army, Bright Star Foundation, and Human Rights Campaign to expand its inclusive housing facility for LGBTQ individuals
A typical week of Bright Star helping out.
DM a young man whose stay at a sober living house is ending, has got employment, but not enough money to move by the time he needs to be out this Friday. He is not able to stay at Shannon, is too old for NPHY (Nevada Partnership for Homeless youth) and will be applying for aid with EOB and Clark County Services, but they have had wait lists lately. He and SP, a previous applicant who has been waiting for housing, would like to get a room together at Siegal Suites near DM’s work. (Still open)
WV has not gotten back to me with further need. They found a place to stay temporarily on a friend’s couch, and will get back to me if that does not work out.JN is almost ready to move forward on their final steps towards licensure to be able to use their MFT degree. I should have checks by tomorrow to start getting things paid.
AS is a young woman who had previously received housing, but was not able to maintain stability, requested and received a ticket to go home to New York where she has a supportive person to receive her. (Completed)
AD is a young man who had been staying on the street for several nights waiting for friends to pick him up and take him to a place they planned to stay in Colorado. He was not able to stay at Shannon and NPHY did not have space for him. We arranged to have temporary housing for him until his friends came, and a food card, but his friends did end up coming and he was able to get temporary housing and a ride to a longer-term housing plan. (Completed)
Below is a weekly report from staff of the Las Vegas LGBT Center with whom we are coordinating our efforts:
S: We submitted an application for two LGBTQ youth who were about to be evicted for not being able to pay rent. Bright Starapproved request, check was picked up and ran it over first thing in the morning. Along with the two youth, there was also an elderly woman staying there, her daughter and 4 year old grand daughter, waiting out on the porch for the police to show up and remove them. I went to the office to pay, but at first the office told me it was too late, the eviction had started and they were on their own. I made my plea and left my information, but they said the only person who could help was off for days and they wouldn't contact her. They called me back and said they would work with them, but they had to pay late fees and court fees. I checked that with Rob and went back with the check and cash to cover the rest. (By the way, the four year old, Princess Zoe, was so excited she showed me how fast she could run.)
A: had been semi-approved, but needed to find an apartment. She has been trying to get into Shannon West, but hadn't been able to. I called them and tried to see if they would let her in, but they would not, so she has been staying at the Courtyard, which is not ideal. She found a place and will be getting back to me with the details.
T: Rob was able to get food cards and bus passes to cover her to her first paycheck, and give me the check for her deposit. I was able to go to pay the deposit on her apartment and get her moved in. She was very touched and grateful.
W: got a bus pass, but had not been able to spend approved money on an apartment.
S: was approved for a bus pass and food card to help him keep a new job and keep his place. He lost the job due to transportation issues and delays in getting his ID, but is ready to reapply. He did lose his housing situation and is trying to get back into a place.
Johnny is an 18 year old male youth who became stranded in Las Vegas after a friend welcomed him into his residence. The friend later physically assaulted him which resulted in the friend going to jail for domestic violence. This left Johnny with no place to live.
Bright Star Foundation was asked to step in and help pay for Johnny to go back home on the East Coast. Johnny is now with his family and safe without the fear of physical abuse. He is enrolled in a local university and will be moving into the dorms at the end of summer.
Michael is 19 year old gay male who found himself homeless after his mother was arrested for physically abusing him and his younger brother. In an attempt to find a safe place to sleep at nights, Michael would check himself into mental health facilities for up to a week at a time. When there were no hospital beds available for him to stay he used social media hook up sites to find men that he could have sex with in exchange for a place to sleep. Thanks to the referral from Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, Bright Star Foundation was able to help Michael obtain his state identification, as well as help him pay for a stable living environment.
Susan is a 16 year old female who originally lived in Arizona with her mother. She moved to Las Vegas to meet her biological father with whom she had never formed a relationship. Upon arrival she discovered that her father had mental health issues and Susan ended up running away to a local shelter. The shelter requested Bright Star Foundation to supply funding to get Susan back to her mother.
Susan is now reunited with her mother in Arizona, where she is living in a safe and stable environment. Susan is currently attending high school.
Danny is a 17 year old male who was living with his homeless father. The father went to a local shelter to see if they could help his son. The shelter contacted Bright Star Foundation to see if we could be of assistance. The father approved for Bright Star to pay for a ticket to Detroit so Danny could live with his aunt.
Danny is now living with his aunt in Detroit and attending school.
Jonesha is a 17 year old female who had been living in a shelter in San Diego for a week. She had been couch surfing between different family and friends for over a year due to not getting along with her mother's boyfriend. Since the boyfriend pays all the bills and apartment the mother felt she needed to follow his lead. Jonesha ran out of friends to stay with and her grandparents live in a senior living apartment. Her dad was willing to take Jonesha in, but didn't have the money for a plane ticket to Sacramento. Bright Star Foundation paid for the transportation and now Jonesha is living with her father in a safe home.
Cheryl is a 19 year old female who lived with her girlfriend in their own apartment. Cheryl and her girlfriend were behind in their rent and were about to be evicted. Cheryl had approached a few other organizations but didn't qualify for their services. Another organization referred Cheryl to Bright Star Foundation. During her interview we discovered that Cheryl and her girlfriend had only been eating mashed potatoes out of a box for the last week because they had no groceries in their apartment. Bright Star Foundation paid for groceries, two months of Cheryl's rent and three months of bus passes so Cheryl could find a job. Cheryl and her girlfriend are currently employed and they are living a stable life in their apartment.