Monica DuPea is the founder and director of the Nevada Youth Empowerment Project, a 100% privately funded non-profit in Reno, Nevada. In the interest of deploying proven solutions and nurturing future leaders, she stepped out on her own in 2007 and started NYEP, by opening the doors the Community Living Program, a 9-18 month 15-bed all-inclusive independent living housing based curriculum targeting 18-24 year old females experiencing housing instability, who are directionless, but willing and capable to make the most of opportunities that come their way.

For eight years, through a partnership with the City of Reno, NYEP and Monica have continued to lead the effort in conducting the annual homeless youth count. Monica uses the collected data to advocate for the necessary housing, programs, services and policy changes necessary to provide the continuum of care homeless youth require to overcome their circumstances and reach their potential. Recognizing the lack of affordable housing in the area, Monica was instrumental in securing a free lease on a City property to provide low income housing to graduates of NYEP's CLP. But it's not enough. She knows--with Reno having a 1% vacancy rate, being the 2nd fastest growing City in the nation, and with one bedroom apartments going for $1100--to ensure the CLP' success, NYEP will need to develop its own low income housing for program graduates. Her recent concept, proposed by NYEP, would develop a blighted City property into an intergenerational complex where CLP graduates and low income seniors would co-exist, paying no more than $400 per month.