#fb Homelessness is hard to put into words. CBS has found a way to make it visual – and ACCURATE!
We all have ideas of what a homeless person looks like and the general consensus is that they are mostly middle-aged males who live criminal lifestyles.
That image is very wrong. I am relieved to see CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful and The Union Rescue Mission working together to show you the truth. I found an interview between Michael Logan from TV Guide and Brad Bell discussing the motives for the story and the plan for its future. http://www.tvguide.com/News/Bold-Beautiful-Hires-1024682.aspx
I am excited to see Stephanie Forrester meet Dayzee. Dayzee is a young woman who is a caregiver for her neighbors and the young child of one of her friends who could not take the baby into treatment. For the record, Tarzana Treatment Center lets mothers take babies in to residential treatment services, but I don’t know of any other recovery center that does.
It did not look like a staged set – because it wasn’t. This was filmed on the actual streets of skid row and looked exactly like it did when I was there two weeks ago. The people living on the streets also look authentic – because they are. The Bold and the Beautiful paid locals to play themselves in the background. My daughter and I watched it and she started shouting out the names of the “extras” that we know.
My experience on The Nickle (Skid Row) has been that there are many more Dayzee-like people than there are dangerous derelicts. It is very much a community where everyone knows each other and looks out for each other. Think Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood for those truly in need of a Land of Make Believe. Yes, it can be dangerous – however the people who live there have created a human biome offering sanctuary. They build street families and mini-casts. If you live on the streets or in the neighborhood – the residents know who you are – both because they need to know for safety and because they are a networked community that information passes though with the effectiveness of Twitter.
- who the drug addicts are,
- who the hookers (strawberries) are,
- who is trying to stay clean and sober,
- who is getting services at the various agencies serving the area
- where and when the next free food serving is
- what the needs of their friends are… and if they can meet them, they do.
I’ve watched the street residents raise $500 for Hurricane Katrina victims, and driven groups of “friends and neighbors” 30 miles to visit a homeless neighbor in a treatment center or skilled nursing. (also for the record, they think I drive too slowly and get lost too often)
Fortunately they have always looked out for me too: when I was in a wheelchair there was always someone opening my car door and pulling it out for me as soon as I parked my car. When I left my keys dangling from the door of my brand new car with three computers inside – someone sat by my car for 4 hours and then locked my car and brought me the keys because he had to use the restroom and couldn’t sit there anymore. When my car battery died – it was the local drug dealer who greeted me by name, jumped the car and told me to buy a cell phone before he saw me again.
I am starting to like this Stephanie lady. First of all, she vaguely resembles my mom. Like her I am from an affluent town (Arcadia) where we do philanthropic fundraisers and donate stuff – but don’t really get our hands dirty. Stephanie put into words the impression I had when I first went there – basically that I lived 20 miles away but had no idea that a foreign world was so close to me. I am following the trends and chat boards, and your comments here and finding that many of you identify with her too.
I know that she has been there, skid row, before and her story illustrates that all situations can be transitory. That is to say, everything can change. She had money and family and then found herself depending on the kindness of strangers, then had money and family again and is about to be the stranger others can depend upon…
It looks like the show is going to give us a realistic showing of the change that can happen when people are recognized for the worth of their hearts and not their wallets.
And then, if you are brave enough, find a way to put yourself in the picture too.