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My Name is Richard. And I’m Homeless. Part VI

July 17th, 2008 by Celeste Fremon

homeless-woman-leslie-may.gif

As the homeless capital of America, Los Angeles County has 73,000 homeless men and women; 10,000 without a home are children.

According to the latest figures on services in LA County, emergency and transitional housing and services are in short supply. LA County is short 5,000 emergency beds and 14,000 transitional beds in hospitals and shelters. For every emergency bed, there are 16 people who need it; for every transitional bed, nine people are waiting.

Okay, that’s the context. Now here’s the latest installment from Richard.


This has been a depressing period for yours truly.
The other while riding the bus down here I found myself sharing space with an old woman who was obviously homeless, like me. How did I know? Well, for one thing she was lugging around a suitcase – one of those contraptions with a handle and wheels – that was nearly as big as she was. For another her clothes were raggedy and she was missing her front teeth. And she just, well she seemed about as forlorn as anybody I’ve ever seen. I wanted to know: How did you get here? You’re probably a mother and grandmother so what about your kids? And your husband. Did he die? Did you get abandoned? Why aren’t you in a shelter? But I was too embarrassed to ask her any of these questions. And too ashamed.

Tolstoy famously said all happy families are alike while unhappy families differed. I can’t say how she fell thru the cracks but that she did fall was obvious. And now she’s out there on the street wandering around with a shell-shocked look on her face. Lately we’re told that we’re “whiners” and should get on our bikes and get over it. Well I don’t think this woman can. And, yes, I guess that makes me a bleeding heart as I contemplate a state that will spend a quarter million to warehouse a kid but can’t find the dough to put a roof over this lady’s head. I know I’m supposed to discuss my own condition. But, dammit, I’m a lot better off than she is. And the night doesn’t hold the terrors for me that it must for her.

So you conservatives out there. Let me just ask you a question. What would you do about this woman? Think she might respond to a little money thrown her way for a roof over head? Or would that sap her “animal instincts” ala Larry Kudlow?


That’s enough.
I will save my soapbox rants for another time and place. But right now I don’t feel like singing America the Beautiful. “Alabaster Cities undimmed by human tears.” Sure.

Posted in Homelessness, public assistance, Public Health, Street Stories | 9 Comments »

9 Responses

  1. Woody Says:

    rlc, okay, I’ll take the bait. I can’t solve that woman’s problems and government can’t either. Personally, I donate to church, Salvation Army, and other charities who have the abilities to help the homeless. They are better able to determine who is a legtimate case vs. those wanting money for drugs or booze, and they can better determine special needs that must be addressed individually. Still, I give to individuals where they look legitimately needy, and I’m sure that I’ve given to some shysters, but they’ll have to face that with God.

  2. Woody Says:

    Since no one else has anything to say at this point, I’ll add one more thing. Conservatives help the homeless by not joining them. Conservatives take personal responsibility and show initiative to not become one of the homeless statistics.

  3. Woody Says:

    Richard, go to Denver during the Democratic Convention. It’ll be like an educational tour!

    Free Movie Tickets A Plan To Hide Homeless During DNC?
    Organizers Deny They’re Trying To Sweep Away Homeless Population

    When thousands of delegates converge in the Mile City in August, downtown Denver won’t look exactly like it does now.

    Free movie tickets and passes to Denver’s cultural attractions will be given out to homeless people just in time for the Democratic National Convention.

    Several groups that help the homeless announced Wednesday that they are making changes during the DNC. But the plan is seen, by some, as a plan to hide the city’s homeless, estimated to be roughly 3,800 the summertime.

    A DNC advisory committee devoted just to handling the homeless issue has been working on a plan for the past four months with the help of Denver police, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, the Denver Rescue Mission and other shelters.

    The homeless will be offered free movie passes, tickets to the Denver Zoo, museums, and other cultural facilities. The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will also hand out free bus tickets so the homeless can attend events that aren’t nearby.

    Organizers say it’s not an attempt to sweep away the homeless but it’s more of an effort to educate them.

  4. richard locicero Says:

    Fine Woody. I assume that a ticket (preferably on AMTRACK) will be waitiung for me at the Fullerton station with your name on it!

  5. richard locicero Says:

    By the way, in all your words I didn’t hear an answer to my question of what you’d do about that woman. Probaqbly another freeloader. Now if she were only a bank or FANNIE MAE!

  6. Woody Says:

    I’d ignore the lady unless she asked for money, than I’d probably give it to her. I don’t know that I would even recognize her as being homeless. Wait a minute! I wouldn’t even be on public transportation.

    Before the Democratic Convention in Atlanta years ago, they swept the streets for homeless and shipped them out of here. Don’t ask me for the details, but they were gone. This is how the Democrats care for the poor. It’s one thing to have taxpayers fund their vote-buying programs. It’s another thing when the poor affect them directly.

    Now, what did you do for the lady?

  7. Woody Says:

    Oh, yeah, on getting to Denver, I left a ticket for you at the L.A. airport at the Air America counter.

  8. richard locicero Says:

    Ah yes! I always fly CIA airlines. All the coke you want!!!

  9. richard locicero Says:

    But Woody, I don’t think they go to Denver and I’ve already seen Saigon! Vientiene ain’t so hot either. Now Luang Prabang – that rocks!

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