Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shine a Light update

No one died during Shine a Light’s first trip into the tunnels, so we’re considering it a success.

Seriously, we accomplished at least a few things. Two groups went in five or six tunnels and got acquainted with the terrain and the people who live down there. Kristi found a kitten in an open-air channel and helped reunite it with its mom. My group, which included David, Lacey and Macheo, helped Brian – who lives deep in a tunnel near the Rio – get treatment for an abscess on his stomach. (Brian could’ve stayed in the program and gotten off the streets, but chose to return to the underworld.)

Of the 35 to 40 people we talked to in the tunnels, only a handful expressed interest in getting out. Obviously, this is going to be a challenge. But we’re forming relationships and we hope to nurture them.

We were short on bottled water and canned goods – and the homeless always appreciate nice, comfortable socks. If you can spare any of these items, please contact Fuilala Riley of HELP of Southern Nevada at 702-369-4357 ext. 238 or friley@helpsonv.org.

Monday, March 23, 2009

With a little HELP from my friends

“May the Good Lord shine a light on you,
Make every song your favorite tune.
May the Good Lord shine a light on you,
Warm like the evening sun.”
“Shine a Light”
The Rolling Stones


I’ve started an organization to help the hundreds of men and women living in the underground flood channels of Las Vegas.

With apologies to the Stones, Shine a Light is a collaboration between me, HELP of Southern Nevada and its affiliated organizations. I’ll escort drug counselors, caseworkers, social workers and other specialists into the tunnels twice a month. We’ll offer water, food, clothes, blankets and other items, when available, to the people we encounter – but more importantly, we’ll offer services, including housing, drug, medical and mental-health counseling, case management and referrals.

Founded in 1969, HELP of Southern Nevada is a charitable organization that helps families and individuals overcome barriers and attain self-sufficiency through services, training and referrals to community resources. For more information on HELP, call 702-369-4357 or visit www.helpsonv.org. To volunteer or donate money or items (water, canned goods, clothes, blankets, toiletries, etc.) to HELP, contact Fuilala Riley at 702-369-4357 ext. 238 or friley@helpsonv.org.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lost in translation

The German news magazine Der Spiegel published a story about Beneath the Neon and the underground flood channels of Las Vegas – apparently. See, the story is in German and I’m having little luck with online translators (unless, indeed, it’s written at a first-grade level and contains several non sequiturs). So I’m posting this one for my German-speaking friends. Maybe they can read the story and let me know if the writer, Hilmar Schmundt, shit-talked me or not.

http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,611972,00.html