The desperate flowed into a new office in the homeless corridor, one after another seeking food, shelter, a job or a bus ticket home.
Those who came to the Corridor of Hope Alliance's modest one-room digs, open just a few weeks inside the Salvation Army's Family Service building at Main Street and Owens Avenue, were mostly the "new homeless."
They had been on the street for a few days to several months.
They were mostly from out of town, too, and came looking for work, having somehow missed the memo about Nevada's second-to-worst unemployment rate.
"I thought at least here I'd have the opportunity for work," said 52-year-old David Branham, a South Carolina native who spent most of his nights for the past six weeks sleeping on a piece of cardboard behind an electrical box up the street.
So far, Branham had had no luck finding a job as a security guard. But alliance volunteers hoped to change that.
They found a bed for Branham in a nearby shelter, helped him craft a résumé, taught him how to access e-mail on the office's computer and let him list the office phone number as his own so potential employers could contact him.
Opening the office, billed as a "one-stop shop" where homeless people can receive a variety of services, was the latest effort the alliance has undertaken in the homeless corridor.
Its last effort, an intervention that disbanded a growing tent city downtown, garnered the alliance a lot of publicity and stirred controversy.
This new endeavor, by contrast, has seen little of either so far.
At a time when more and more people are struggling, a new office -- no matter how small -- devoted to helping is welcome.
"I've really been grateful to these people here," said Rhonda Rollins, 52. "Without them we wouldn't know where to go and we wouldn't have gotten in" to housing.
Rollins had boarded a bus from California to Las Vegas with her two adult sons just days before, thinking the three of them, all disabled, could better afford to live here on their collective $1,450 a month in disability payments.
But after a few days in a downtown motel, they had been unable to find affordable housing on their own and were worried about their rapidly shrinking funds.
The Hope Alliance helped them get into a low-income apartment next door. Volunteers were working to get the place furnished and to find Rollins' two sons some form of employment.
The bustling, donated office space, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., is staffed entirely by volunteers from the alliance, which includes Las Vegas police, downtown shelters, city officials, charities, faith-based groups and business owners.
The volunteers are like concierges for the down-and-out, with contacts all over town in housing, employment and social services.
Some resources come to them.
Each Thursday, for example, Martha Forrest stops by to interview people for possible placement through New Genesis, a "transitional" housing program for the homeless.
Forrest met with Branham, whom she then sent to Clark County Social Services to apply for $400 in rental assistance he could use to rent an apartment at Genesis.
"My job is to find a place for him today and place him by tomorrow," Forrest said.
Branham, still convinced he has a chance of landing a job in Las Vegas, hopes to stay.
Volunteers have to explain to many of the homeless from out of town that "Las Vegas is one of the worst economies around," said volunteer Ray Silvas, a 75-year-old retiree. "They are better off elsewhere."
Others are happy to accept a free bus ticket home, said Rich Ariola, a 44-year-old volunteer and member of the One Way Riders Christian motorcycle ministry.
"I can't tell you how many stories I've heard about how 'all my money was stolen,'" he said.
The homeless come from all over the country and make their way to the new office "with no clue what services are available," said Annie Wilson, the Metropolitan Police Department's liaison to the homeless.
"We listen to their stories and help them figure out where to go."
Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at lcurtis @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0285.