Homelessness – Those with nowhere to sleep
Ted Folkert – March 6, 2017
Having maintained an office and managed property on Venice Beach for many years, observing those who lingered about and who appeared to have nowhere to sleep, those most of us refer to as homeless, was an everyday experience. They are referred to as invisible and I suppose they are pretty much invisible since we see them but don’t see them.
A recent panel discussion on KCET public television station provided an in-depth conversation with those involved in dealing with those who need assistance for food, shelter and healthcare.
This subject is in the forefront presently due to Ballot Measure “H” which proposes to provide $355 million annually for ten years to resolve the homelessness situation – a very critical program which we need badly to improve the lives of those afflicted and the privacy and peace for those who complain of the annoyance of their presence.
I have heard so many inconsiderate and unsympathetic people blame the problems on the individuals: irresponsibility, laziness, freeloading mentality, criminals, etc. etc. etc. But, in reality, the causes that end in homelessness are many: mental illness, alcoholism, drug addiction, PTSD from military service, unemployment, inadequate income in retirement, inability to work, cost of housing, poverty, parental abandonment, foster children coming of age and others.
We must be thankful for those who attempt to deal with the victims each day. They have a tough job, impossible or improbable at best. The task has always been too little, too late, lack of staffing, lack of funding, lack of affordable housing and lack of supporting services.
A recent count revealed 47,000 homeless in Los Angeles County. This of course omits those missed who were hiding somewhere or just overlooked. So, what is the number – 50,000, 60,000, more? These people need help. They need a place to sleep, mental and physical health care, life counseling, someone to consult, to talk to, to rely upon for everyday needs. We can’t expect someone who is totally demoralized to all-of-a-sudden be susceptible to help.
If we can get them into housing and someone to turn to then maybe we can motivate them to work on their problem of survival.
It seems we deal more with the complaints of homelessness than the needs of the homeless. Instead of providing a solution we cite them with violations and require them to show up in court and pay a fine. Unfortunately, they have no transportation to court and no money to pay a fine, so they have more charges against them for failure to appear. It’s a vicious circle with no way out. Their way out is to continue to deteriorate and eventually die. Then their problem is solved and so is ours.
We need Measure “H”. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Give a homeless person a dollar today. Give a homeless person a dollar every day. If we all did that it would put a couple of million dollars in their pockets every day just in Los Angeles.