LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The city of Las Vegas recently approved additional funds that pay for homeless individuals to get back to their home state after an increase in applicants.
The program is called “Ticket to Home” and city administrators said they are seeing more people use it.
Last week, the city approved an additional $150,000 towards the program and could spend a total of $400,000 for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
“This year about midway through the fiscal year, we had expended all the money that was budgeted, so we went to the city council to ask for additional funds,” said Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher, a community services administrator for the city of Las Vegas.
Ticket to Home requires individuals to verify they have a family member or friend willing to take them in.
“Rather than keep them here where they have no support system, for us it makes sense to get them back home and reconnected to their support system. Our programs and services are great here but no one is going to care for you like your family,” said Bluitt-Fisher.
From Jan. 2019 to Dec. 2019, more than 1,200 people used the program including 147 children and 12 unaccompanied youths.
“Since we’ve been here at the courtyard and were seeing more people and awareness is getting out that we have this service, we’ve definitely seen more people come in and get tickets home,” said Bluitt-Fisher.
Eric Arts is one of those people.
Arts said he left Michigan last year after losing his home. He and his father moved to Southern Nevada to escape the Midwestern winter.
When they arrived, they quickly realized the woman who gave them a place to stay was not completely truthful about the living situation.
“Three people living in a 15 by 20 foot trailer with two dogs. It was hard,” said Arts.
Tomorrow, he said he plans on getting a ticket to Texas where his mother is willing to take him in.
“My father has my truck now and it’s going to be hard for me to get a job. I’m already homeless,” said Arts. “Down there it’s smaller. I can walk around the whole town.”
Many homeless people at The Courtyard said they don’t have family willing to take them in and therefore can not apply.
“Parents talked me out of it. They said they don’t want to support me,” said Victoria Hicks, who has been homeless for several years.
The Courtyard accepts applications from Tuesday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.