- Our Metropolis with Matt Hirsch
This is an excerpt from the radio show Our Metropolis, a half-hour issues and affairs program that airs Tuesdays at 6 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and is hosted by Greenspun Media Group's John Katsilometes. Tune in next week to hear the rest of this interview with Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth is Executive Director Matt Hirsch, who is taking over for organization Kathleen Boutin, along with a young man named Hakim who has received assistance from NPHY. For information about the organization, go to nevadahomelessyouth.org.
Question: Matt, who does Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth serve, and how?
Answer: We have many core programs that we offer youth in our community. First is our Drop In Center, which is located at Maryland and Tropicana, just on the northeastern side of that intersection. It's a full-service, full-time drop-in center that is an open-door environment, a safe-place, drop-in center, Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., a place where you can come in and get anything from food vouchers to clothing to hygiene products to a hot meal. We have a respite center in there, where they can go and just play games for a little bit. We have a computer center where go in the Internet and look for jobs. They can see a case manager if they are having trouble with school and need tutoring. It's a safe and open place where kids can come to look for help. … We have our Independent Living Program, where youth who are eligible are able to stay in one of our condominiums under the supervision of a case manager and a house parent, so there is plenty of "wrap-around" care services – they have to be in school, they have to be working at a job, and we give them whatever assistance they need to achieve their goals.
Question: Hakim, how did you seek out assistance and how are you doing now?
Answer: I was going to high school at the time, and I got kicked out of my house. I was in the streets for about a month. I was sleeping right across the street from the school. No one. One time a counselor saw me there and was like, "Do you have a place to live?" "No." So she gave me a card for NPHY, I gave them a call. Right from there they took me to a safe place, I got into the housing program and they helped me with my school, gave me clothes, and they protected me. I was about 18.
Answer: What circumstances got you kicked out of the house?
Question: It as a one-bedroom I was staying at, with a friend of my dad's, and he was an alcoholic, actually. My parents are in Minnesota … It didn't work out. He wouldn't let me leave the house to go to school. He'd say, "You can't go out. You have to watch the house." He'd threaten me, if I went to school he'd kick me out. He was very scared of people, and there was one time I didn't go to school for a week. I finally went, and he kicked me out. My stuff was at the door. He told me, "Take your stuff and leave." I went to my friend's house, left my stuff there, but they didn't want to be involved because of the police. That's how I ended up on the street.