LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Over the past two years of dealing with the pandemic, it introduced a host of new challenges. From loss of jobs, inflation, and one not as easily seen, vehicular homelessness. That new challenge has forced many people to call their cars home.
Along state Route 159 in Summerlin, there's a problem. Residents tell 13 Action News people are parking and living inside their RVs, vans and vehicles. It's illegal, but there are "no parking" signs posted along the road.
Neighbors are concerned. When Summerlin resident Jeremy Kelley walks out of his home, he sees RVs parked along his street, and he questions what's going on.
"Well first, are they visiting someone?" Kelley said. "Because I'm not trying to say they're the bad guy, but at the same time I'm trying to figure out what is your purpose here?"
After several months, he's realized these visitors are uninvited guests.
"What we noticed, as residents and myself, specifically, multiple incidents where RVs, recreational vehicles, and sedans and SUVs show up in the neighborhood unannounced. They leave trash, debris," Kelley said. "You know, cooking, having grill outs, drinking their alcohol."
Kelley says from his own backyard he can see the RVs lining up and staying overnight, sometimes longer. The same RVs often come and park on his street, but they aren't headed to Red Rock.
"Between September and early May, they're here in full force now, especially after our pandemic," Kelley said. "Unfortunately, they lost their homes and jobs, they moved into vans, they're living out of their vehicles."
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Others are taking notice. Catrina Grigsby-Thedford, the director of Nevada Homeless Alliance, says the problem is nothing new in the valley. However, the pandemic and inflation magnified the vehicular dwelling issue.
"Due to COVID and the housing prices increasing, loss of employment, their only option is to live in their car," Grigsby-Thedford said. "A lot of these individuals do have work, and they're low income, but don't make enough money to afford rent."
As far as the laws, the City of Las Vegas told us it's illegal to live inside your RV or vehicle on a residential street. If they find a violation, code enforcement officers will come out and assess the situation, potentially issuing fines and fees.
Nevertheless, Nevada Homeless Alliance tells us they are here to help. The alliance has outreach groups ready to assist those in need of shelter, and asked resident who notice people living in RVs or cars on their street to contact homeless advocates.
Resources for those in need of shelter can be found on the alliance's website here.
You can contact the Nevada Homeless Alliance through their website here.