Homeless is a Buzzword

Cool. Great. Everyone is talking about the number of homeless people in Los Angeles.

I so wish the conversation was about the improvements being made to end homelessness.

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I wish the conversation told you the behind the scenes story of what the line workers are up to.

I wish you knew we spent 3 hours looking for a Domestic Violence shelter for a lady who came into my office with a suitcase. – I wish you to know that this has happened to me at multiple places of employment. Women are running from their abusers and finding that when they look for real help, it goes up in smoke like a mirage. All of the “Why didn’t she leave him?!?” statements ignore the fact that there is nowhere to go. The DV shelters are full. In the post #METOO era we have turned our eyes away from the women who are begging for help NOW, now 20 years from now. Your case workers for the homeless populations are answering those cries. We are out of ideas and short on resources.

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I wish you knew that on an average week I work 50 hours a week trying to coordinate services to end homelessness the slow and fast ways. I am popping people into houses funded by hospitals and treatment centers, I am teaching life skills and budgeting, I am dreaming up new approaches, paying for motel rooms and arraigning transportation . . .

I am doing the best I can we as many minutes as I can use but still trying to be a responsible parent to an 8 year old and a good member of my community. #everyonein.

I wish you knew that we teach budgeting and life skills to people who are existing on $221.00 a month in General Relief payments. It is stone soup and we make it as tasty as we can.

I wish you knew that we know every free clinic, food bank, clothing donation, and other resource in a 50 mile radius.

I wish you understood the impact and limits of LAHSA and CES. I wish you loved L.A. Family Housing and their leadership the way I do. Kris, Dan, and Michael – Cheryl, Katheryn, Lilit, Audri – these are my day to day neighborhood heroes.

I wish you understood the limits of funding to places like the Union Rescue Mission and what that means.

I wish you really got that all of us in this line of work wish we could do anything else because this line of work was not needed.

I saw friends last night and it was a freaking miracle that I took the time to drive to dinner with them.

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I wish you understood that this is not big business to us. We have the skills to do other jobs and make more money. We do this out of passion and a belief that it must be done. We believe we are the best people who are willing to put in the sweat and hours. And

sometimes

we cry.

So, the cool new word splashed on newspapers and angrily thrown at the mayor is “homeless”, but it isn’t new to me. I keep pushing for the day when the term is antiquated and no longer relevant to our modern society.

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