Living In The Tunnels Underneath Las Vegas

11 Oct

Mole people refer to people who live underground, usually under a large city. New York has them, but a city with one of the largest verified population who live under it is Las Vegas.

Beneath Las Vegas is miles of tunnels, built mostly for flood control. Much of it never sees use and over 1,000 people live in these tunnels, setting up various types of room and housing.


All photos featured today were taken by Austin Hargrove.

The following text is from articles by and

“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.

Further into the maze are Amy 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.’


‘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.’

As for other entertainment in the tunnels, the 45-year-old adds: “We’re big talk radio fans. And a few of us are accomplished musicians and have instruments here.

“One guy down here has a full-time job. I don’t think gambling is the cause of many people being down here. It’s more alcohol and drugs. We all gamble a bit — we’re in Vegas.”


“To come out of the tunnel and face the world is intimidating for some of the people. Some are very much entrenched down in that tunnel and comfortable. That’s why the charity doesn’t like to give out too much food, water and clothing.

“We don’t want them to get too comfortable because it is really an illusion. It can be extremely dangerous.”



Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Living In The Tunnels Underneath Las Vegas

  1. Markus Allen

    May 20, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    It’s interesting that people living in these conditions isn’t attributed to other possibilities, such as losing their jobs, not finding another job, which then leads to losing their homes and forced to live on the streets. Yes, there are a ‘lot’ of people that are out there by choice, mostly because they have only given up on the struggle to survive- month to month- as they once worked two to three jobs, and yet, STILL didn’t have what it took to keep everything.
    The scary fact, from ‘my’ point of view, is that THIS looks to be ‘my’ future. If I cannot find another job soon, I can’t stay in a apartment that I can’t pay rent on. Maybe I will be lucky to move back east, live with my dad until I can find work back there, and get back on my feet….and then what?

    The society we live in, seems more determined to force the ‘poor’ into the streets, or in this case, live in sewers. Oh ‘yes’, people will point out that there are shelters and food banks, like that ‘really’ helps. It is as much a help, as giving a homeless person a dollar on a street corner. It does NOT HELP. Giving FOOD helps, or better yet, providing a JOB so that person can EARN their way in life. But that seems to be the way with most people, who never thinks about that things like that. It must feel good, patting one’s self on the back for such a noble deed, instead of doing what actually needs to be done. What needs to be done? ‘Change’ needs to be done, so that the LIVING WAGE is NOT below the MINIMUM WAGE.

    The most important thing for many, including me, is the knowledge that I will not find myself with no way to take care of myself, to have no roof over my head, to feel safe and warm, and that I will not starve to death.


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