City looks at how homelessness impacts Las Vegas’ sanitation


LAS VEGAS (KLAS ) — The City of Las Vegas has a $350 million problem, and it’s one valley residents see daily. Homelessness in the community is having a big impact on sanitation around the city because more often than not, trash and debris are being left lying around.

When that happens, the City of Las Vegas has to clean it up at a cost to taxpayers.

“I’m a deacon here at New Bethel Baptist Church, and I’m here almost every single day working around the church,” said Elliott Holmes. “We have different issues; sometimes, the wind blows [and] the trash blows.”

Debris is scattered among empty lots, and a lot of it is filling storm drains. So city officials enlisted the help of Applied Analysis to figure out how it is impacting Las Vegas.

“One of the biggest challenges that communities are dealing with is debris sanitation-related issues and the cost associated with those,” said Jeremy Aguero, Applied Analysis.

It’s a costly challenge because the report says the city collects 3,000 tons of trash, which costs more money to send sanitation crews out to clean.

“It is somewhere between $25 and $26,000 per person that is homeless to deal with all the challenges associated with homelessness,” Aguero said. “We’re talking in the neighborhood of $350 million a year.”

A spokesperson with the city said an outreach team works with encampments to get them to pick up all their belongings when they clear the area. In most cases they do comply.

Areas where the camps create public health and safety issues are handled by the city’s Rapid Response Team and Metro Police.

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