Robin Hebrock/Pahrump Valley Times The Nevada Outreach Training Organization operates a variety ...

Nye distributes $1.3 million to help housing and mental health initiatives

Nye County officially launched its ARPA grant programs and the first round of grant applications from nonprofits in the region were heard at the first meeting of the Nye County Commission in December. Six in all, they received a very mixed reaction from the board of directors, with two approved, two refused and two others postponed to a future meeting.

Of the six grant applications, one was from the Nevada Outreach Training Organization (NOTO) while the other five were from the NyE Communities Coalition (NyECC).

NOTO was requesting the largest amount, a total of $1,182,291 to fund two different programs at its facility, one focused on addressing homelessness and the other providing direct household assistance in the form of rent, utilities and mortgage financing.

“Currently, NOTO is the homeless shelter here in Nye County. We are also one of 24 state grant-funded family resource centers…NOTO today uses multiple grant funds grant to help the homeless and those in need of a helping hand due to COVID, hardship, job loss, illness, domestic violence, etc. the detailed presentation of the organization “NOTO has the experience of working within our communities in Nye County to be able to successfully implement the grants available.”

The presentation also included an overview of how NOTO plans to use the requested ARPA funds, with $208,561 for staff, over $40,000 for operations and a consultant, and the remaining $934,320 for direct services to clients.

Following the presentation, led by NOTO Executive Director Kathie McKenna, the application was approved 4-0 as presented and the nonprofit will now see a huge injection of funding, relieving the county of responsibility for administering its own public assistance program this time around.

NyECC’s request for $115,386.70 was also approved on Dec. 6 to help residents apply for social insurance and disability insurance for people with mental illnesses.

“Severe mental illnesses are overrepresented in our incarcerated and homeless populations,” the presentation information noted. “By working collaboratively to bring the resources outlined in the budget proposal, we can provide more intensive case management to build protective factors, reduce risk factors and stabilize people who would otherwise burden social services.

“We are requesting $99,008.01 for the staffing needed to address the complex issues facing people with serious mental illness; $2,576 in travel to meet customers where they are and minimize barriers. With the operating $26,565 requested, we will be able to stabilize people so that we can provide comprehensive case management services. Additional equipment costs of $1,500 will allow us to provide real-time resources when meeting with clients in the community,” the NyECC presentation said.

A request for NyECC funds to support the Pahrump Remote Area Medical Clinic and enable its expansion into a RAM clinic in Tonopah was also on the agenda on Dec. 6, but after intense discussion of the merits and details of the application, the commissioners decided that they would prefer to award the grant in a modified amount.

The coalition was originally asking for $97,482.24, but the commission chose to cut that total by one-third. The NyECC’s request will now be heard at the next council meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, December 20, for $66,433.

The second grant application to meet the deferral was for public assistance to the homeless in the amount of $37,728.02. The money would be used to “help 10 homeless clients with eligible disabilities apply for disability benefits. A benefits specialist will contact potential clients,” the NyECC information said. “The specialist will interview and determine the eligibility of potential clients. If found eligible, the Benefits Specialist will help obtain medical records, complete and submit applications, and follow up with the client and Social Security Administration to ensure the application is processed.

Although quite similar to the coalition’s Social Security social insurance and disability program for people with mental illness, this point generated so much debate that commissioners were unable to reach a consensus. Commissioner Bruce Jabbour was absent that day due to illness, leaving the other four board members at odds over the matter. When it came to a vote, the result was a tie, meaning the item will now be deferred to a future meeting. A date has not yet been chosen, said Nye County public information officer Arnold Knightly.

Also on the December 6 agenda were two other separate requests from the NyECC, one for the Youth Protective and Resilient Factors Program and the other for Public Assistance Programs.

The coalition had requested just under $83,000 for the Protective and Resilient Factors program, which would focus on work experience training through Pahrump Valley High School and JG Johnson Elementary School. However, more than half of the funding was earmarked for staff costs, which did not seem to please the board. Much of the NyECC’s public aid grant application was also for staff, and in the case of this application, commissioners noted that NOTO’s programs made the coalition redundant.

In the end, the commission ultimately voted to reject both of these requests.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at

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