Los Angeles, also known as “America’s Homelessness Capital”  has the highest homelessness rate in all of California. According to the Union Rescue Mission, “About 58,000 people in the city of Los Angeles are experiencing homelessness.” There are many reasons why people end up becoming homeless. Some end up homeless because they lose their job, or they are out of business, some are veterans, divorced, have suffered from domestic violence, drug addiction etc. etc.

Although many people may get the wrong idea about people becoming homeless, they think that becoming homeless is a choice and they think that homeless are lazy drug addicts and alcoholics that they brought being homeless upon themselves which in most circumstances  most turn to drugs and alcohol after they become homeless to “escape reality”. According The Union Rescue Mission statistics state that “8% are veterans, 22% are youth, 19% are physically disabled, 16% of adults are employed, 48% graduated from high school, and 32% have a bachelors or degree higher.” There are many reasons why one can become homeless, it may also be from a traumatic event as for example, Ray from a video on YouTube “A Family Restored” went through a traumatic childhood, he says, “I used my marriage for a band aid to cover my old wound” (Ray).  His wife could not take it anymore and he went from having a family to losing his family and ending up homeless and on the streets of Skid Row.

Many come to Los Angeles for “opportunity”, they really believe that if they come to LA they will be living their dream job. Some do if they are lucky enough, but most come with not a lot and end up being left with absolutely nothing and ends up causing them to live on the streets. In the YouTube video “A Los Angeles Man Shares the Reality of Skid Row” Luke the homeless man talks about how he came to Los Angeles with his wife to come live with her family, but never heard from her family once they got to LA. He says that “you come here and you get stuck and if you don’t know where to go or have no family to bail you out, which me and my wife don’t have, you are kinda forced to go to Skid Row.” He also mentions how Skid Row is a nasty place he says, “Skid Row hurt me in ways that I can’t ever explain. It made me do things, and made me see things I wish I would have never seen” (Luke). He ended up leaving Skid Row because they were getting taxed, but continues to live a struggling life, trying everything to keep him and his wife alive. He mentions that he gets “jumped” and gets his belongings stolen. It is hard for people in Los Angeles to also survive because of how expensive things are for example Luke says “but things are so expensive, like a hot dog behind me costs seven dollars, do you know how long it takes me to make seven dollars?” (Luke).

They have many shelters in the LA area, to be specific there is an area that many people are well aware of, that is called Skid Row. Skid Row is where most of the homeless people end up going  because of all the resources that they have their, they provide shelters, they give out meals, clothes etc. “The 54 block in Downtown Los Angeles became Skid Row in the late 1800s”(RMC). It is a center for poverty, it is an attraction to homeless people because of the help that they get there, it is a community for them. A service center known as the Union Rescue Mission helps homeless people get back on track with their lives, they have support systems that help each other know that they are not the only ones struggling. According the the Union Rescue Mission, “The highest concentration of Los Angeles population of people experiencing homelessness “live” on the streets of Skid Row- an area less than a mile wide filled with drugs, drinking violence and despair.” In the video of “State of the Streets”, Andy Bales Ceo of the Union Rescue Mission says “Skid Row is the worst man made disaster in the US” (Bales RMC).  Homeless people tend to go to Skid Row because they can not go anywhere else without getting arrested for loitering as for Skid Row they can and live in their tents. Skid Row is filled with drugs, violence and diseases. People even fight each other on Skid Row over belongings, gang violence, drugs etc. Andy Bales even mentions how women get assaulted, “if you are a women on Skid Row, it is not a question of if you are gonna get sexually assaulted, you will get sexually or physically assaulted” (Bales RMC). It ends up destroying a woman’s mental health and makes them feel like there is not anymore to life and they just give up.

Trash lies beside the Skid Row City Limit mural as the city begins its annual homeless count in Los Angeles, California on January 26, 2018.

Besides the Rescue Mission Union they have other services that can help people for example the Los Angeles Family Housing. In the Article, “Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development and Law, Streim David explains that the LAFH is a “Private non-profit community- based organization with a mission to help people transition out of homelessness and poverty through a continuum of housing, enriched with supportive services.” (Streim). They serve over 6,400 individuals annually.  They offer services to the homeless and try to get them on track as well. In the book “Better Must Come, Exiting Homelessness into Global Cities”, Marr and Matthew D talk about how the homeless should be understood and advice ways to exit homelessness by expanding housings. They are many ways to help, visit urm.org to donate to build the city of Los Angeles and get these people off the street and find opportunities for them.

Work Cited

“A Family Restored: Ray’s Story.” YouTube, YouTube, 4 Feb. 2019, youtu.be/ua9GuoinE74.

“Helping People in LA Overcome Homelessness.” Union Rescue Mission, urm.org/.

“Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law.” Abanet.org.chaffey.idm.oclc.org, 2007, http://www.abanet.org.chaffey.idm.oclc.org/.

“Los Angeles Homeless Man Shares the Harsh Reality of Skid Row.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 Aug. 2018, youtu.be/T_c5ff0EEcA.

MARR, M. D. Better Must Come : Exiting Homelessness in Two Global Cities. Ithaca: ILR Press, 2015. Disponível em: <https://chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=972419&site=ehost-live&gt;. Acesso em: 13 fev. 2019.Sungwon Yoon, Tai-Hing Lam. “The Illusion of Righteousness: Corporate Social Responsibility Practices of the Alcohol Industry.” BMC Public Health, BioMed Central, 3 July 2013, bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-13-630.

Photo Credit

/ AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)