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Las Vegas teacher struggles with homelessness in Southern Nevada’s rental crisis

A teacher in Clark County is living out of her car with no place to live.
A teacher in Clark County is living out of her car with no place to live.(Las Vegas teacher)
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 10:03 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) -A Las Vegas special education teacher and single mother told FOX5 she has struggled with homelessness throughout the pandemic, and since her return to work in a school, cannot get a rental due to her lack of qualifications for income and credit.

It’s the latest story among thousands like her in the Las Vegas Valley, which faces a housing crisis and housing shortage.

“Every teacher I know has multiple jobs. Even ones that are married also work other jobs. And it’s still just not enough without a husband or a partner. I can’t survive in the city,” said Joellen Fletcher, a single mom who works at a school in Las Vegas. She asked FOX5 not to identify the school, though FOX5 can disclose she is not employed with CCSD.

Clark County leaders said that the Las Vegas Valley is short tens of thousands of affordable rental units. In the meantime, Nevadans struggle to afford sky-rocketing rent increases and compete for available inventory.

According to Realtor.com’s latest February report, the median one-bedroom rent is $1,500 for Las Vegas, and $1,700 for a two-bedroom.

Fletcher said that she couldn’t work for some time during the pandemic, due to lack of childcare for two toddlers, resorting at one point to sleeping in her car for a few days. Since her return to employment, Fletcher also said her income doesn’t meet the minimum requirements in many places, which require three times the rent.

“When I apply for properties, for a while, there were anywhere between five to twenty other families and applicants applying for the same property. And I don’t have the best credit, I don’t have a partner, I don’t have a great paying job,” said Fletcher, who said she has spent $1,000 on applications.

FOX5 has reported how many families spend hundreds or upwards of a thousand dollars for rental application fees before ever getting approved. In Nevada, there is no limits on applications per rental, or refunds for any rejections.

Fletcher tried a weekly hotel as a temporary solution, and also sought a roommate situation. Her children are in temporary housing while she urgently searches for somewhere permanent.

“I’ve put all this effort and work into teaching. I feel like I have to abandon the profession to provide for my family,” she said.