LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Marijuana dollars are helping families get back on their feet.
Licensing fees from dispensaries are being used by the county to combat homelessness. The fees generated $6.1 million and the county awarded nearly $2 million in grant money to three different nonprofits in order to tackle homelessness.
“Why not? Let's use these resources to really benefit our community," said Cherry Richardson, Chief Programs Director for Lutheran Social Services of Nevada.
LSSN is using its cut of the money to help families that are homeless.
“It's going to make a big impact on homeless families in the community,” said LSSN Empowerment Services Manager, Mark Zellmer. “It's shocking to me the level of despair in the community. It makes me feel like we have to succeed."
Help Hope Home’s 2018 Homeless Census shows 56.2 percent of southern Nevada’s homeless population cited job loss as the primary cause of their homelessness; 25.4 percent cited drug or alcohol use; 18.4 percent cited mental health issues; 18.1 percent cited medical issues.
In order to benefit from the marijuana grant, families have to apply through the county for assistance. The county determines who would make a good fit for the program. Families that are given homes by LSSN have been homeless for less than six months. The rapid rehousing program aims to get families back on their feet.
“These are families that are homeless that have children,” said LSSN family case manager Trenee Stephenson. “Many of them have been down on their luck. They've lost jobs, they've lost their home."
So far four families have received housing. The program still has room for potentially 46 more. LSSN said it just needs landlords to work with them.
“We don't want to see children out on the streets. Can [landlords] help us out? Because a lot of times these families might have barriers. Not enough income, rental history, credit history. Can you help us out in making sure these families get housing?”
The other two nonprofits that received grant money are HELP of Southern Nevada and HopeLink of Southern Nevada.