Shine a Light

“May the Good Lord shine a light on you,
Make every song your favorite tune.
May the Good Lord shine a light on you,
Warm like the evening sun.”

“Shine a Light”
The Rolling Stones


Founded in 2009 by Matthew O’Brien, Shine a Light is a nonprofit organization that helps the hundreds of men, women and children who live in the underground flood channels of Las Vegas. The program prides itself on going into the depths of the storm-drain system and engaging this underserved, hidden population on a personal level.


Shine a Light offers housing, drug counseling, case management, job training and a GED program, among other things. True to its roots, it also doles out much-needed supplies, including bottled water, food, socks, underwear, flashlights, headlamps and AA and AAA batteries.


“Shine a Light was a godsend. If not for them I really believe that I would not be alive today. They brought me back from a dark and traumatic time in my life, made me believe in myself again and gave me the courage to climb out of my own tunnel and be a productive member of society. They are truly a light shining down on others!”—Billy, in the drains from 2004-2016

“Sitting near the tunnels, looking for used cigarette butts, watching all the happy tourists. Making my way to the restroom at Caesars Palace, where my mother once worked as a cocktail waitress. Hungry. Looking down at my dirty feet in flip-flops. Thank you, Shine a Light, for helping me get out of that situation and for saving my life! Today I am blessed with housing and my family is reunited. I thank God every day for the compassion shown by Shine a Light!”—Melinda, in the drains from 2009-2011

“I want to thank Shine a Light for being a helping hand in so many ways: batteries, underwear, flashlights, toiletries, blankets. But more than that, when my good friend Sharon drowned in a flood, they put me and her boyfriend up in a motel room and helped us recover. It was a noble thing to do. Shine a Light is as real as it gets!”—Kregg, in the drains off and on for many years

“I am forever grateful for Shine a Light. When we were down in the tunnels, they would bring us water and food. Brought Thanksgiving dinner to us, too. We were treated like ordinary people instead of subhumans. I will never forget the kindness shown by Shine a Light. Thank you so much!”—Cyndi, in the drains from 2010-2013

“Angels came to visit us in the tunnels, but I just didn’t get it for a few years. I wasn’t ready. But Shine a Light kept coming down to the tunnels—to hear their voices and see their flashlights in the dark was a relief—and I finally did get it. When everyone else gave up on us, Shine a Light didn’t. They gave me hope, then I believed in myself and put in the work.”—Phil, in the drains from 2001-2010

Get Involved

Shine a Light accepts financial and material donations.

To make a donation, please visit

SAL also has an Wish List:

For more info

For more information on Shine a Light, please visit