Tunnel People of Vegas: White?

The Tunnel People of Las Vegas

Daily Mail � November 4, 2010

Deep beneath Vegas�s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar.
But astonishingly, the 200 miles of flood tunnels are also home to 1,000 people who eke out a living in the strip�s dark underbelly.

Steve and Kathryn

Some, like Steven and his girlfriend Kathryn, have furnished their home with considerable care – their 400sq ft ‘bungalow’ boasts a double bed, a wardrobe and even a bookshelf.
They have been there for five years, fashioning a shower out of a water cooler, hanging paintings on the walls and collating a library from abandoned books.
Their possessions, however, are carefully placed in plastic crates to stop them getting soaked by the noxious water pooling on the floor.
‘Our bed came from a skip oustide an apartment complex,’ Steven explains. ‘It’s mainly stuff people dump that we pick up. One man’s junk is another man’s gold.
�We get the stuff late at night so people don’t see us because it’s kind of embarrassing.�
Steven was forced into the tunnels three years ago after his heroin addiction led to him losing his job.
He says he is now clean and the pair survive by �credit hustling� in the casinos, donning second-hand clothes to check the slot machines for chips accidently left behind.
Astonishingly, Steven claims he once found $997 (�609) on one machine.

Further into the maze are Amy (left) and Junior who married in the Shalimar Chapel � one of Vegas�s most popular venues – before returning to the tunnels for their honeymoon.
They lost their home when they became addicted to drugs after the death of their son Brady at four months old.
�I heard Las Vegas was a good place for jobs,� Amy said. �But it was tough and we started living under the staircase outside the MGM casino.
�Then we met a guy who lived in the tunnels. We�ve been down here ever since.�
Matthew O�Brien, a reporter who stumbled across the tunnel people when he was researching a murder case, has set up The Shine A Light foundation to help.
These are normal people of all ages who�ve lost their way, generally after a traumatic event,� he said.

�Many are war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress.
�It�s not known how many children are living there, as they�re kept out of sight, but I�ve seen evidence of them � toys and teddy bears.�
O�Brien has published a book on the tunnel people called Beneath The Neon.
These evocative images which show the community’s astonishing way of life were taken by Austin Hargrave, a British photographer now based in the U.S.
They show how the destitute and hopeless have constructed a community beneath the city and have even dedicated one section of tunnels to an art gallery filled with intricate graffiti.

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