1 in 9: Homeless, Hopeless and Dying Alone - 8 News NOW

1 in 9: Homeless, Hopeless and Dying Alone

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Ed. Note: Between the years 2007 and 2011, the percentage of people living below the poverty level in Clark County was estimated at 12.9 percent. For a single person in 2012, this is an annual income of $11,170. The following story is part of 8NewsNow.com's coverage of the Las Vegas valley's poor.

LAS VEGAS -- Truck driver Randall Clary moved to Las Vegas on a promise of work hauling rocks from job sites.

When Clary arrived, that promise vanished. No job, no home and little hope.

"I just basically became homeless overnight," Clary said. "I was staying in my car, me and my dog. That pretty much sums it up."

Unemployed except for the occasional under-the-table job, Clary often spent the night in a park near Maryland Parkway and Wigwam Avenue. He washed and waxed tractor-trailers on occasion, living on food stamps and what he called the "Obama phone," a government-issued prepaid cell phone that sometimes led to side jobs.

About four years later, Clary started feeling pain that he likened to kidney stones he suffered through in years past.

"My back hurt really bad, and when I was a kid, I had what's called a Harrington rod put in my back," he said. "I've had bouts of kidney stones, which if you've ever had a kidney stone, they are just, they're horribly painful. I thought it was kidney stones, but it wasn't."

It wasn't until a Nathan Adelson Hospice volunteer brought him in this fall for a medical evaluation that Clary, 49 years old with no home, received a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer. Doctors told him he had roughly until New Year's Day to live.

"Horrible," he said of his condition. "I feel like I want to get up and get out of this chair and walk 5 miles, but I couldn't walk 2 feet. I'm so weak and tired...I'm just about ready to go to sleep."

The hospice provides $1 million in uncompensated care annually, said Karen Rubel, vice president of development for Nathan Adelson Hospice.

"While most patients come to us and we get reimbursed by Medicare or private insurance, we do see quite a number of patients that don't have insurance, who are seeking hospice care and it might not be available to them at other hospices," she said. "We do see people who find themselves homeless, we see people that sometimes are under insured."

Clary lived a nomadic life even while driving trucks in Washington. Never married with no children, he said his relationship with his family is difficult.

"They were here a few days ago, but me and my family have been at not the best," he said. "Families can be strained pretty easily."

Clary said finding help in Las Vegas proved hopeless.

"There really is no services for anybody that's male," he said. "They tell you that you can work. I was so weak and I'm just not able to work. In 10 minutes, I'm just exhausted."

Before entering hospice care, Clary found a home for his dog, Tommy, with a man he met at a dog park.

"He'll never have to worry about nothing ever again," he said. "That was my main concern, getting my dog taken care of."

Clary was transferred to Mountain View Care Center in Boulder City. He left Boulder City after a short time, telling officials at Mountain View that he planned to return to Washington to be near his family. No one has heard from Randall Clary since then.

Reporting by Nicole Lucht / Photography by Mike Cao

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