I once heard someone use this term to describe homelessness or the issues of the homeless today. I thought hard about it and couldn’t help but think that it has a negative connotation on the homeless. When I saw it on TV, the special was shot in an area that looked like downtown, Los Angeles - where a lot of them gather and have made home. It is also very close to L.A.’s Skid Row, which is home to one of the largest stable populations of homeless persons in the United State.
Was she referring to Skid Row or anywhere the homeless gathered as “the district of public failure”? Because some of these people didn’t choose to be homeless. Condition subjected them there - conditions such as: unemployment, high rent and the extreme cost of living, runaway teens, drug addicts, alcoholism, to mention a few; therefore, we can’t knock them collectively.
I remember when I first moved to California. I thought, how ironic that California housed the richest people in the entertainment industry, and also seem to have the highest population of homeless. I was shocked to see that this is a huge problem in every major city in California: Hollywood, San Francisco, Venice, Ventura, Santa Monica, and San Diego to name some of the cities. They are everywhere. I have never seen anything like that before. Believe it or not, California is the homeless capital of America.
Coming from the East Coast, you only see them in certain cities/places. You’d seriously have to drive a distance to come across them. Not saying that the percentage is not high on the East Coast, but wondering if the government provides enough shelters to accommodate them, so they don’t have to be on the street. And if that’s the case, why California, one of the richest states, is not on board with this? Did it get out of hand? The demand for shelters and programs to assist them far exceeded the amount of homeless in each city?
Seriously, what are they doing to help? Where are the celebrities to the rescue? I feel like they, the celebrities, that is, are quick to jumping into assisting televised and publicized non-profits. So the masses can give them a pat on the back and they can be recognized for doing “charity” work or helping other Countries, yet, right under their nose, is a person like them that tried to “make it” in the industry, but luck was not on his/her side, or the stress of keeping up with the constant increase in mortgage or rent, the recession, whatever it is..little attention or effort is paid.
In my opinion, I think a lot of churches and non-celebrity non-profit groups, regular working citizens, do more work in helping and assisting the homeless groups.
If anything, most of these rich cities, like Beverly Hills and the like, put a lot of money into fighting against the homeless (who can’t fight back), making sure that laws are enacted to keep them away. Can we put these monies into good use? You know, like building more shelters? Programs that will reform and not add to the problem that already exists?
For me, what is making this more aghast, is the number of babies and kids you see on the streets. Poor innocent babies who didn’t ask to be brought into this, but are in it due to the factors I mentioned above. And even if their parents are fighting hard to get them out of that situation, the truth of the matter is that it is extremely difficult to recover from being homeless (if they want to).
How do you begin to recover? How do you get a job if you don’t have the proper attire for an interview, you don’t have the money to look presentable, money for transportation, access to a phone or computer, and all those little things that we don’t pay attention to. (Sidenote: read up on what Google has done with their GrandCentral service in San Francisco about this.)
Even if you do find a job, and you are on the track of getting a roof on your head, now you have to come up with the first month’s rent, the last month’s rent and security deposit. Let’s not forget about credit checks. Most give up during the process and just go back to living in the streets, shelters or their cars.
Besides, shelters can only do so much. Shelters, to my understanding, only allow for temporarily living. You can’t make it your permanent home. That being said, what sort of programs do they have at shelters to help get these people back on their feet?
The current recession has made it far worse. More and more people loosing their jobs, and ending up in the streets. My husband recently saw a lady standing on the side of the road just outside Beverly Hills with a sign reading: “Ex-Studio Exec, now homeless. Please help.”
Crime rate is way high and everyone is fighting and doing whatever to survive. Yet, the rich are getting richer. You can’t ignore reading the tabloids and seeing one celebrity or the other buying a new $10million mansion, a convertible Bentley, or simply spending money lavishly. Do we all see anything wrong with this picture? I’m not here to tell anyone how to spend their money, however, I am going to end with this:
Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine that you were homeless and sleeping in the streets when it’s negative 5degress outside, or it’s pouring rain, or it’s 110 degrees hot. You have nothing to eat, nothing to drink. You have no way of survival. You are dying slowly. You have health problems. You live in fear of someone attacking you or raping you. Even further, you are living with your child(ren) in the street. You are watching your child die of hunger, dying of thirst, waste away slowly. Or God forbid, someone rapes or attacks your child. Would you want someone to come to your aid? If your answer is yes, then I suppose you have something to think about.
We are so quick to give our compassion for areas of the world ravaged by extreme poverty and hunger, or by catastrophic devastation (read: Niger, Kenya, or Thailand in the wake of the Tsunami). But what do we do for our countrymen? Wherever you live or call home, shouldn’t the help start from there? Our brothers and sisters living in desperation, unclear of how they are going to survive the day and night. They require our attention. They need our love and compassion as well.