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.