Las Vegas gov’t ‘houses’ homeless in parking lot

By Emma Johnson
April 13, 2020
Reuters/Steve Marcus

The moral bankruptcy of the capitalist profit system is on sharp display in the priorities set by the bosses and their government in dealing with the social effects of the coronavirus outbreak on working people. It comes through very starkly in the gambling center of the country, Las Vegas, where the casinos are deserted and closed. Thousands of comfortable hotel rooms sit empty.

On March 28 the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada closed its shelter after one employee and one homeless man staying there tested positive for COVID-19.

The city government’s solution for the more than 500 men who suddenly lost their place to go at night? The Cashman Field Center’s upper parking lot! No walls to shield from cold winds, no roof to shield from rain. People do as best they can to get some sleep lying inside little boxes painted on the concrete floor, above.

The Courtyard shelter, less than a mile away, is packed like a sardine can. “Here, if you move, you’re going to bump someone. But we have mats,” 63-year-old Johnny Wingo told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “There, there’s no tent. What if the rain comes?”

As depression conditions loom, and tens of millions of workers find themselves unexpectedly out of work — and a paycheck — the capitalist rulers could have similar accommodations for many more of us in the future. Unless we fight back.