Cashman Center turns into pop-up shelter after Catholic Charities closes

March 29, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Dean sat on the corner of Foremaster in Downtown Las Vegas, his heart heavy with the news of a man at Catholic Charities testing positive for the Coronavirus.

"I wish someone would do something to help us," he said with tears in his eyes.

Like so many on the streets, Dean, 79, depends on the shelter at Catholic Charities for a place to sleep.

But when they closed their doors after the positive Coronavirus case, 500 people were left with nowhere to go.

The nearby Courtyard expanded space to accommodate the overflow.

Yet many homeless say conditions there were not ideal to keep the virus from potentially spreading.

"It's packed. We're like animals," said one man living on the streets.

Others say hygiene practices, like washing hands and showering, were difficult with the large overflow of people.

"I mean, I could make a rap song out of the beat they sneeze and cough. Lord have mercy," said David Payne who is homeless.

It's a problem that Cedric Crear from the Las Vegas City Council acknowledged.

"We have been at overcapacity at the Courtyard," said Crear.

But he says there is now a solution: a pop-up shelter at Cashman Center, a joint project implemented by the City of Las Vegas and Clark County.

"Setting up here today will allow us to have more distancing, more social distancing and more space," officials explained.

To keep guests safe, medical students from Touro University dressed in personal protective grab.

One was taking temperatures and screening for possible coronavirus symptoms.

Once inside, each person got a spot to sleep with a new, warm blanket.

A sight homeless couple Alan and Patricia are relieved to see.

"Being in an environment like this is nice, at least people are trying. It looks safe. I'm glad this happened." they said.