LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) -Shine A Light Outreach Director Robert Banghart gets nervous on rainy days like Thursday.
“In my tunnel, water ran constantly,” said Banghart. “We had built a dam to move it away. So, when it rained it was, imagine having to move your house every time it rained. It’s an overwhelming feeling.”
Shine A Light has been going into tunnels for years to offer emotional support, resources and even an immediate way out of tunnel life for those who are ready to change their lives. On Thursday, Banghart and others went into a wash and tunnel area near Palace Station and Interstate 15, to warn people about the weather.
Banghart says while clouds may be obvious signs of approaching rain to people above ground, some people who live deep in tunnels may not know of approaching storms until water starts rushing into their tunnel.
“Every time it rains, it feels like we lose somebody. And it’s not something that should be acceptable to anybody and I don’t think it is,” said Banghart.
If people make it out of tunnels, many times all their belongings are washed away.
“I think our director Paul says it the best. Their world is their world. It doesn’t look like our world. It’s very small and the things that are important to them may not be the same for us. When I was homeless that’s what it was,” said Banghart.
He added, “Everything I cared about was in a backpack. But if you lose that backpack it’s still your whole world.”
It is illegal to be in washes and tunnels. Shine A Light estimates about 1,500 people live in about 600 miles of tunnels in the valley.
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