Thursday, October 01, 2009

Living Under Las Vegas

Underneath the lavish casinos of Las Vegas, people are living in the city's flood channels. This shocking revelation first came to light two years ago in local author Matt O’Brien’s book, Beneath the Neon, and I’ve noticed a recent surge in stories on this topic. Las Vegas may be an amazing place for a vacation, but for the people who live here, social services are slim to non-existent (and as my dad would have said, “And Slim just left town.”) That lack of alternatives can lead people to desperate solutions. I can’t think of a more desperate solution to a housing problem than to be driven underground into a flood channel, but in the heat of summer, I imagine it’s certainly preferable to trying to brave the heat—until a flash flood hits. Now that Las Vegas’ unemployment rate is over 13%, I can’t help but wonder if more people will be driven underground, quite literally. If you've seen the recent stories and want to know more, read O’Brien’s book.

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