LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Helping the valley’s most vulnerable amid the coronavirus chaos — that’s the goal of a temporary overnight shelter.
The shelter is set up right by Cashman Center. Part of the parking lot has been transformed with mats and barriers, into a temporary space to help the homeless during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I’m about to cry,” said Denise Lankford, a homeless woman in Las Vegas. She fights back tears of joy, knowing she has a place to sleep this coming week.
Clark County and the City of Las Vegas teamed up to create an overnight shelter near Cashman Field due to the huge need. Catholic Charities is temporarily closed because the Southern Nevada Health District announced that a homeless man tested positive for COVID-19. And, the Homeless Courtyard on Foremaster Lane is overflowing with people.
“It’s too packed for me,” Denise said, thankful to be at the new temporary space. “This right here is helping us feel secure, feel safe. Other places, you don’t feel safe.”
Before they can get inside, the homeless guests are screened by Touro University medical students for potential coronavirus cases.
“In case somebody may come down with symptoms or whatever, they can get on that right away,” said Michael Hamilton, a homeless man in Las Vegas.
The shelter will be open from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. daily, and the mats and blankets will be disinfected each day.
“We have it spaced so that they’re social distancing,” said Lisa Morris Hibbler, Chief Community Services Officer for the City of Las Vegas.
Hibbler says around 400 people can stay at the overnight shelter near Cashman Center, at a time.
“We know we have one job as a public servant, and that is to serve the community, and I think that we’re showing that we do that well,” Hibbler said.
Denise says a prayer before bedtime, wishing to call this place home, for now.
“I hope so, if they allow me,” Denise said.
The temporary set up will stay in place until April 3rd, which is when Catholic Charities is set to reopen.
The City of Las Vegas says they are reserving the buildings at Cashman Center for potential hospital overflow, if needed.