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December 21, 2014

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Charity founded by Vermillion tries to reassure donors, supporters

The Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth has sent out a missive to donors and supporters, acknowledging the issues raised by the controversy brought to light by the lawsuits between founder Kathleen Vermillion and her ex-boyfriend, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, as well as potential law enforcement probes.

"We acknowledge that the issues raised are serious and are reaching out to you today to assure you that we are not taking these issues lightly, but rather, are addressing them head-on," the email blast said.

Here it is in full:

Dear donors, supporters, and members of the Southern Nevada community,

First off, we want to thank all of our public, private, and corporate donors, who have generously donated their resources, and our volunteers, who have selflessly donated their time, to further the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth's mission "To Eliminate Homelessness Among Nevada's Youth." Together, we have been able to touch the lives of thousands of homeless youth in Southern Nevada over the past decade.

In the spirit of transparency, we, the Board of Directors and the Executive Director of the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY), are writing to address recent issues that have come to light in the press and in our community regarding the previous management of the agency. We acknowledge that the issues raised are serious and are reaching out to you today to assure you that we are not taking these issues lightly, but rather, are addressing them head-on. The Board of Directors and executive management of the agency are working vigilantly to ensure that any and all issues raised are thoroughly examined and corrected, that every dollar of our donors' money is properly and judiciously spent, and that the agency remains a healthy, transparent, and high-quality provider of vital services to Southern Nevada's most vulnerable population.

In order to accomplish these goals and move forward in a new and positive direction, the Board of Directors has taken decisive action, including:

- Instituting leadership changes at the highest level of the agency. NPHY's new Executive Director is committed to holding the agency to the highest ethical standards and operating with the utmost transparency.

- Working closely with an independent employee relations firm, a certified fraud examiner, and other local non-profit consultants to identify and rectify any past issues.

- Implementing improved internal financial controls and organizational and systems changes to make us the best agency we can be.

Most importantly, we want you to know that there has been absolutely no interruption in our service delivery. NPHY is a unique and robust organization that provides the most comprehensive continuum of care in the state dedicated specifically to the often overlooked population of homeless and at-risk youth in Southern Nevada. We are committed to lowering the 2011 point-in-time count of over 800 unaccompanied children and youth living on our streets without shelter and the almost 6000 homeless students enrolled in Clark County schools. We are unique not only in the breadth and depth of our services, which extend from providing life-sustaining supplies to homeless youth on the streets all the way to helping our long-term housing clients successfully transition into college, but also in our non-institutional approach and the population that we serve: NPHY remains the only youth service provider in Nevada to provide long-term housing to abused and neglected unaccompanied minors without parental consent.

We are proud to renew our commitment to our mission and proven client-centered approach as we move forward under the principles of integrity, transparency, and service. In order for our supporters and community to stay informed, we will be introducing a newsletter to share vital statistics, highlight donors/volunteers, and demonstrate how lives are being transformed. The first issue will highlight a dear friend to the agency, Steve Sisolak, a great community philanthropist and true advocate of homeless youth who has recently reaffirmed his personal and financial commitment to NPHY through these challenging times. The issue will also discuss recent client successes and paint a picture of youth homelessness in Southern Nevada. Again, we thank you all for the incredible support you've given us in the past and present; the Board, staff, and most importantly, our present and future clients look forward to your continued support.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth

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