LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – 8 News Now joined Vegas Stronger, a Las Vegas treatment center, to hear from those experiencing homelessness themselves, focusing on three main spots where the issue plagues the area. From the railroad tracks off Main Street and Washington Avenue to the tunnels of Flamingo Road and Palos Verdes Street and Paradise Road & Harmon Avenue.
“I’m used to it, but I want to get out absolutely. I don’t think anyone down here loves this,” Matt, who has been homeless for eight years said.
Matt showed 8 News Now where he lives in the tunnels. Originally an attorney from Iowa, he calls the tunnels home and acknowledged how his community has grown in just a couple of years.
“There’s just a lot more of us out here. I don’t know the numbers but a lot and it’s hard to find a spot and place to go to be now,” he said.
Matt has been living in his particular spot for over a year but said it’s usually a constantly moving game.
“We are not supposed to be here so law enforcement will arrest us for trespassing or the city comes down about twice a month and they bulldoze everything, that happens,” he shared.
Vegas Stronger handed out supplies to those living in the tunnels. The center specializes in substance-abuse disorders and mental illness with the majority of people they help suffering from some type of addiction, like Joseph, who moved to Vegas 20 years ago from the Midwest.
“You see a lot of stuff people don’t realize that really goes on,” Joseph shared. “It’s messed up, but it becomes life. Being from Oklahoma, drugs are frowned upon especially weed and so I just like that lifestyle but know that I am in it, it’s mundane.”
Both men 8 News Now spoke to said they have desires to get help, but the fear of change is what keeps them homeless.
“I have grown comfortable with it,” Joseph added.