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Matthew O'Brien

Matthew O'Brien is a journalist and social worker who has been considered the foremost authority on homelessness in the Las Vegas storm drains for the past fifteen years. As a staff writer for the Las Vegas weekly newspaper CityLife, he cowrote a series on the issue in 2002. It went viral and received national media attention. In 2004, he began work on a book about the subject, Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas, a collection of gritty narratives exposing the dark side of Las Vegas.

In 2009, O'Brien founded Shine a Light, a not-for-project organization that provides food, clothing, housing, and counseling services to those in the drains. Through his outreach work and as a guide for visiting journalists, he has continued to visit the tunnels and assist people seeking paths out of homelessness. These inspiring stories, which O'Brien would've never envisioned when he first went underground in 2002, led him to conduct interviews for a new book collecting voices of hope and recovery forged from deep despair.

O’Brien is also the author of My Week at the Blue Angel a collection of narrative journalism. He has a master's in creative writing from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and a Silver Pen (mid-career award) from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.

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