Las Vegas Keeps The Neon Lights On And The Homeless Underground
Vegas is a tale of two cities. There’s fun Vegas: the one that last year welcomed over 42 million visitors to its oasis-in-the-desert location, enticing them with its promise of booze fueled never-ending good times and the possibility of winning big bucks on a slot machine or blackjack table.
Then there’s not-so-fun Vegas, the Vegas where the city’s laser-like focus on tourism has trumped the need to provide adequate care on its social services front. Many of the flood tunnel dwellers are examples of the city’s inability to properly address the fallout of an economy that’s based primarily on activities that stoke the fires of addiction.
Welcome to the 300 or so miles of flood tunnels inhabited by approximately 1,000 homeless people fighting to survive under America’s original city of sin.
That flooding is a constant threat for the occupants, some of whom have built semi-permanent elevated living spaces on top of discarded boxes and crates that keep what possessions they have out of the standing mix of water and sewage but aren’t structurally sound enough to withstand floodwaters.
A Las Vegas-based author Matthew O’Brien founded Shine a Light, an organization which works in tandem with HELP of Southern Nevada to supply basic day-to-day necessities as well as addiction counselling and medical services to those living in the tunnels. He’s also started a Crowdrise fundraiser, the proceeds from which are immediately put to use giving support to those who now have to call the tunnels ‘home’. (source:www.interestingshit.com)