New 3 Las Vegas
October 5, 2008

The struggling economy continues to hit Main Street hard. More and more families are losing their homes, forcing some to live on the streets. News 3’s Dan Ball explains why the number of homeless families are dramatically increasing here in Las Vegas.

Catholic Charities says they’ve noticed that within the last several months, the face of the homeless has changed. It isn’t just the single male sleeping on the streets anymore. Now, it’s the family who was once living on easy street.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

"Mary" is a mother of three. She and her husband both have jobs, a large mortgage, and a car payment. And, like many valley residents, they are just trying to make ends meet.

"Bills were due – we just needed a little help for today," says "Mary." "It’s costing us more because we have a $1,295 mortgage, car note, kids expenses, diapers…"

Phillip Hollon with Catholic Charities says their role of helping only those people without shelter has drastically changed over the last year.

"Last year at this time, we were serving about 50 families on any given day. Now we’re serving about 150 families on any given day," explains Hollon. "‘It’s a very different clientele than we’ve seen in the past. Many years ago, people were on the street walking to us. Now they’re driving to us."

Because of the housing crash, high gas prices, and inflation, more and more families are asking for help. And some are even ending up on the streets.

"The types of individuals we’re seeing are struggling to make ends meet," says Hollon. "They’re forced into making decisions – whether they can pay their rent, or their car payment, or putting food on the table."

Within the last few months, Catholic Charities has seen the number of hot meals they serve dramatically increase from around 600 to over 800 every day.

"We’ve been struggling ourselves to try and help the community," says Hollon. "With all the needs that are out there, it has tripled in the past year."

Linda Lera-Randle El runs "Straight from the Streets." She says the increase is so great, that the state needs to step in and help out because things are bound to only get worse.

"Poverty is usually last on the list," explains Lera-Randle El. "It’s the hardest hit and it’s going to cost the most. It’s just like a natural disaster almost – only it’s with us always."

If you’d like to help, there are many things you can do, such as donating money, food, or your time by volunteering.

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