Stayin’ Cool: How The Las Vegas Valley Homeless Keep Out Of The Heat | Las Vegas, Nevada
Broken shopping carts packed full of odds and ends litter highway underpasses valleywide.
Their homeless owners are desperately seeking shade from the sun’s harsh rays. Some lay blankets and tarps across two or more carts, creating a makeshift shelter in an attempt to stay cool while triple-digit temperatures broil the area.
“There is no other option than to get out of the heat,” said Charlie Desiderio, director of development and marketing for the Salvation Army Clark County Administration. “You have to get into someplace air-conditioned. You have to drink water and do anything you can do to keep your body temperature down.”
According to the county’s homeless census conducted in January, there are 3,608 unsheltered homeless people — an increase of 19.2 percent or 581 more people than in 2009. These are people who live on the streets, in vehicles or other makeshift shelters “not meant for human habitation.” They live in encampments throughout the valley.
The total number of homeless in Southern Nevada has decreased 15 percent since 2009 — about 2,000 fewer overall — from 13,338 when the census was conducted two years ago to 11,269.
Some won’t get the relief from the heat they need. Most will head to local cooling stations and day shelters.