A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Thursday, December 31, 2009

10 Top Homeless Stories of 2009

This is a very good link with a lot of good information on the top 10 homeless stories of 2009. Just click on the title above as it will redirect you.

The number one story was of particular interest to me which can be seen from the above link

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas night of December 25th 2009

Christmas day is over.  The presents have been opened and the excitment is over for many.  The evening for those with a roof over their heads may be an evening of hooking up some of their new electronic gifts, big screen TVs, logging onto their new computers or putting away new items or clothing. 

Many people in colder parts of the country will build a fire in their fireplace or turn up their heater as they lie back on a comfortable recliner, sit in their favorite chair or couch and watch television.  Perhaps they will listen to music or read a good book.

For many others there is no heat (even in Los Angeles it has been in the thirties at night).  Their bed is little more than a piece of carpet foundation felt on the cement in a spot that may look safe for the night. 

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There will be no hot coffee, no hot cocoa, no glass of wine.  No shower or bath, no music and no television or DVD movie to bring an aire of excitment to the end of a special day.  The excitment these folks have will be the constant concern of being found by others which may be the police or may be others that are out looking to take what they can from others. 

A small percentage of people will be given a place in one of the missions or shelters.  These are the more fortunate ones but are a very small number compared to those out there with no shelter for the night.  This story is repeated every night, 365 days a year.  Tonight on the night of Christmas the feeling, mood and situation is even more depressing for most.  Many are newly homeless due to job loss and the economy.  This is their first Christmas with no roof over their head.  The memories of better days, a home and family being together in a safe place is quite vivid for many.  Their own situation had only become this dire in the last few months or even weeks.

Below are a few videos I took last night. The low light capability of the camera worked well enough to get the point across. These video clips are all about a minute in length or less.







My wishes to all for a great 2010.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

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IMG_0156, originally uploaded by myles111us.

In Los Angeles all the missions and shelters are doing whatever they can. Some on a larger scale than others but all helpful.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just a few shots from today

I am putting up a few photos from this afternoon. I will be heading out in a while for the evening to talk to some of these folks, try to feed them a bit of a snack or light meal and do what every I can do to help.

Spending time down on skid row is not complicated. Life is pretty simple for most people, make due from day to day. Choices are easy for me too. I now have a routine that I follow when somebody asks for money. If they ask for money for food and they are anywhere within walking distance of the Union Rescue Mission I take them to the entrance on San Julian Street where the intake for people is ready for them. If they say they do not want to go it is somwhat obvious to me that they just may want money for other uses. If they really need something to eat and some help from folks that can put them on a productive track then there is little reason to not take the URM up on what they have to offer.

Keeping with the concept of simplicity I will post a few photos here from today in simple black and white.

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Subway to serve 2,000 Sandwiches

SUBWAY RESTAURANTS JOIN THE UNION RESCUE MISSION WITH TOY DRIVE FUND-RAISER AND HOLIDAY MEAL SERVICE FOR THE HOMELESS

LOS ANGELES CALIF. – —– On Tuesday, December 22, 2009 Volunteers from Los Angeles-area SUBWAY restaurants will once again work with the Union Rescue Mission in down town Los Angeles to serve a meal and help brighten the lives of men, women and children experiencing homelessness during the Holiday Season.

For the 13th consecutive year, Subway volunteers will prepare and serve ham and turkey sandwiches for the homeless on skid row in Los Angeles. The annual Subway volunteer effort serves approximately 2, 000 meals. To date, Subway volunteers have served over 25,000 meals during this annual giving event. This year’s Subway volunteer meal service will take place on Tuesday, December 22nd at the Union Rescue Mission. Preparations begin at 9:00 a.m. with meals served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

In addition to the annual volunteer meal service, Los Angeles-area Subway store owners conducted a fundraiser and collected over $16,000 to benefit the Union Rescue Mission’s annual toy program for underprivileged children. Approximately 1,000 families will be invited to shop for Free toys and gifts for their children at the Missions 18th Annual Christmas Store. The (URM) Christmas Store is open to participants in the Mission’s programs as well as to a select group of organizations helping people who are experiencing homelessness and poverty in the Skid Row community.

The Union Rescue Mission (URM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving people who are experiencing homelessness, providing emergency services, comprehensive prevention and rehabilitation programs to break the cycle of poverty. (URM) is the nations largest and L.A.’s oldest rescue mission. Services for women and children, in particular have been expanded to meet the needs of this fastest-growing segment of the population experiencing homelessness. On any given night, more than 10,000 families and 18,000 children are without food or shelter in Los Angeles County.

The Union Rescue Mission receives no government funding and is solely supported through the generosity of individuals, foundations and corporations. (URM) is located at 545 South San Pedro Street, in Downtown L.A., 90013.

For information about URM please visit the website www.urm.org or contact: Kitty Davis-Walker (213) 673-4585 or Shaeideh Prince at (213) 347-6352.

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With any luck there will be some videos I can post as this event had a video crew shooting things.  If I can get access to the videos I will publish links to them on this blog in this entry which I will update.

12/24/09 update - URM has posted some of their own photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/urmmedia/sets/72157611564878866/

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The architecture of the city

Yesterday I changed my routine a little. Normally I go downtown in the early afternoon and then go back in the later evening. Last night I had a music show to attend so I altered what has become my daily routine.

I went downtown in the late afternoon to take some photos as the sun was setting. With the modern glass buildings and their reflections things can get quite interesting. When there are two glass buildings reflecting in each other you almost get a mirror in a mirror effect. With the heat of the day rising from the street below there can be waves in the image as well.

The architecture - the old and the new, classic and modern, run down and rebuilt, torn down and in the process of being torn down or in the process of starting a new life as a changed structure.

Everywhere one looks there are stunning sights to see with not only a visual component but a historical one as well. I never cared for history when I was a child. Perhaps as we get older the desire to understand more of the past ... or what I walked by without taking more than a quick glance?

I was born and raised in this city. My grandfather owned an industrial laundry and uniform company on Grand Avenue. When I was a teenager I worked in the laundry in the summer to make a few dollars. When I was very young my grandfather would take me to places like the Central Market and the Toy District. The Toy District is now primarily skid row. Both of my parents were also born in Los Angeles. Between my parents and grandparents I saw a lot of the city with my eyes but did not process enough of what I saw with my mind. Perhaps as we age we traverse a process. Blind to apathy to what in the hell did I miss?

These days I try to open my eyes a bit wider as I walk a bit more slowly to take in the sights and sounds of the city. I try to think more and take moments each day to become involved for a few minutes in the lives of others, giving help where I am able.

Below are some of the shots of the city, Los Angeles, which I took yesterday in the afternoon. If you click on any of the photos you will be redirected to where they are kept where larger format sizes can be seen.

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The contrasts are so strong.

Friday, December 18, 2009

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IMG_0209, originally uploaded by myles111us.

Taking a break from the homeless subject, here is a bit of architecture information.

Many of the buildings in Los Angeles (this is in Little Tokyo) have had many business occupants. Today this building is an inexpensive hotel.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Will these photos have any more impact if I add any of my own words?

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The shot directly above ... up close and personal.

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Go ahead and count them; five police cars. Just a regular day. You can only see the lights going on one car due to the speed of the camera but all had lights going.

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All photos in this post by Myles S. Rose

Another video on Andy Bales - the head of Union Rescue Mission

I am not generally thought of as a person with strong feelings toward religion. I will listen to any views or thoughts on religion even though they are not a strong part of my own life. Perhaps as I get older things will change.

I do have respect for the beliefs of others and always try to learn what I might be able to learn from others. Many of the missions which help the homeless are deeply rooted in religion. I suppose that just as there is a divide of Church and State in some aspects of law I too try to keep religion and my help to those less fortunate divided. In the video below there are some points on religion so I just wanted to take a moment to express some of my own thoughts so people that know me and think they understand me do not become confused. The video below has many terrific points.



Rev. Andy Bales | Stories from Skid Row from Union Rescue Mission on Vimeo.

The Union Rescue Mission along with the other missions help the homeless in many ways. I do not have their resources or a staff but do what I can do. Sometimes people help such as Mr. Win and Mr. Kim who operate produce areas in the Central Market in downtown Los Angeles. They have both given me a lot of help in the procurement of healthy things I can pass out at night to folks on the street that stay there when there is no space at one of the missions or shelters.

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In these photos above you will see two pounds for $1.00 or three pounds for $1.00. I am able to get between five and ten pounds for $1.00 from some of these vendors who have helped me directly.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The more time I spend with the people of the area the more questions I ask myself

I have spent the last two days and one night downtown other than coming back to NoHo for a few hours to do a little work in the shop over at 65 Amps.

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Some prefer the street to other options. Photo by Myles S. Rose


I have spent time on the street and have spent time in two of the main missions; the Los Angeles Mission and the Union Rescue Mission.  These two places are a half a block from each other.   I have been spending most of my time with those that remain on the streets rather than use the facilities of the missions.  Many feel the rules in the missions are too restrictive.  Many feel the missions are violent and dangerous.  I have been asking a lot of questions to try to learn more in the terms of restrictions and violence.

I can understand one aspect of "the rules".  Many people in this area partake in alcohol.  Many also partake in the use of crack.  Yes, there are rules; no crack use or alcohol comsumption in the missions or shelter areas.  So at this time I have learned that there are rules that some people may not be able to go along with easily.  The violence?  I am still trying to figure that out.  There is a lot of violence on the streets.  Just stand by the garage exit on the San Julian Street side of the Central Police Station and count the cars that turn on their siren upon hitting the street before they even hit then end of the block.  The streets are a dangerous place and I feel that they are more dangerous than inside of the mission or shelter areas.  This is based on my own very limited experience.



Above is Andy Bales the head fellow at the Union Rescue Mission.  This video was done in 2009 and gives a good picture of the current situation.  This video was supplied to me by the URM.

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Above - a police car just turned up 6th street but within moments made a U-turn and deployed its siren.  Photo by Myles S. Rose

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Police driving by Union Rescue Mission.  A car drives by this mission every few minutes. 
Photo by Myles S. Rose

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Photo by Myles S. Rose

One question that keeps drilling itself into my brain is; do I spend my efforts working with one of the large organizations such as one of the missions which do help many people or do I try to work more on my own and do what I am able directly for a few individuals?  I have not answered that question at this time.  I have made friends and there are now people that seem to be happy to see me.  I have fed people and bought folks coffee.  I have developed relationships with vendors at the Central Market for things like bananas, rasins, nuts and oatmeal.  I have learned of a Chinese restaurant that closes at 6pm that has fed a small group of my new friends with food that would have been tossed out in the evening. 

The views in the evening are spectacular.  In the late afternoon Skid Row lies in the shadows of some of the most wealthy corporations in the world.  The contrast is something that is hard to comprehend.  Los Angeles is no different than many other cities in this aspect but Los Angeles does have the highest population of homeless people in the United States.  Over 85,000 people which is more than the population of Santa Barbara.

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Photo by Myles S. Rose

There are new buildings, old buildings, buildings with no hope with their life lost and buildings that have been given a new lease on life.  The contrasts numb one's mind.

Vietnam era vets continue to be the highest percentage of homeless.  The sick and mentally ill are a part of the population as well.  The current economic conditions have brought many new homeless residents into the area, people who only weeks before were living in a home which used to be their own.  Once a job is lost and unemployment cannot cover their house mortgage they may end up on the street if they have no other option such as family or friends to offer help.  The look of failure on a parents face is hard to forget.  The look is that of fear as well as failure.  Their children have had their stable world pulled out from under their feet.

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Photos by Myles S. Rose





The video directly above is the Los Angeles Mission area



The video above is San Julian Street. The police in the area call this the most dangerous street in all of Los Angeles. On this street you see the Union Rescue Mission. These two missions are less than a few moments walk from each other. The Midnight Mission is another block away and there are smaller missions in the general area as well.

Video segment 1,2,3 by Myles S. Rose.  Video below on Hope Garden by Union Rescue Mission.


Hope Gardens from Union Rescue Mission on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Homelessness in Los Angeles County

According to the Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty at the Weingart Center, an estimated 254,000 men, women and children experience homelessness in Los Angeles County during some part of the year and approximately 82,000 people are homeless on any given night. Unaccompanied youth, especially in the Hollywood area, are estimated to make up from 4,800 to 10,000 of these.

Although homeless people may be found throughout the county, the largest percentages are in South Los Angeles and Metro Los Angeles. Most are from the Los Angeles area and stay in or near the communities from which they came. About 14 to 18 percent of homeless adults in Los Angeles County are not U.S. citizens compared with 29% of adults overall. A high percentage - as high as 20 percent - are veterans. African Americans make up approximately half of the Los Angeles County homeless population - disproportionately high compared to the percentage of African Americans in the county overall (about 9 percent).

Other Facts About the Homeless Population in Los Angeles:

The average age is 40 - women tend to be younger.

33% to 50% are female. Men make up about 75% of the single population.

About 42% to 77% do not receive public benefits to which they are entitled.

20% to 43% are in families, typically headed by a single mother.

An estimated 20% are physically disabled.

41% of adults were employed within last year.
(This may indicate that many people are newer to the ranks of the homeless as many had lost their jobs in the last year)
About 25% are mentally ill.

As children, 27% lived in foster care or group homes; 25% were physically or sexually abused

33%-66% of single individuals have substance abuse issues.

48% graduated from high school; 32% had a bachelor degree or higher (as compared to 45% and 25% for the population overall respectively).

This video was done over two years ago

This video was done in September 2007. This was prior to the major part of the downturn in the economy. As bad as things were back in 2007 they have become much worse now at the end of 2009.

America's Forgotten

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Originally uploaded by myles111us
These folks do what they can but the job they face gets more difficult every day.

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Originally uploaded by myles111us
This video was taken on December 9th 2009. The quality is very poor as it was taken via my cellphone. I use the video capability of the phone mostly for audio aspects. A cellphone is a bit less intrusive than a camera which is larger and more obvious. I found this humerous as did the local residents who were kept away from their hotels while shooting was in progress.

My first blog entry on the homeless and economy in Los Angeles

I have been taking photographs since I was just a child.  I felt I needed to try to understand what was going on there or perhaps I felt that was going on there should not be forgotten. Maybe I am feeling the same about what is going on with people who have lost everything and invisible to most of the world.

Only a few blocks from the heart of Skid Row there are luxury lofts for sale with hardcore sales people who are busy doing their best to sell these places in the current economy. I don’t know how many of them are worried,  if they cannot sell these condos and lofts which is their current job they may be the future residents of this part of the city without a home.

Los Angeles is no different from countless cities in the country when it comes to the current economy and how this impacts people.  Los Angeles does have something of a unique place as the city with the highest number of homeless residents of any city in the USA. 

The Vietnam era vet is still in the group that holds the highest percentage of homeless but the percentage is dropping as people from all walks of life enter the ranks of the homeless.

I started spending time in the Skid Row of Los Angeles in December of 2009. I do not know where I will go with all this. I have always had a desire to try to discover why things happen, trying to find the hidden story, standing up for the rights of others (tossed out of military school for that one and there are a number of other examples), and trying to help some of the people that were in the same place at the same time in the sixties in a land far far away.




Monday night is not the same for a lot of folks. My question here was, how many of these people have no home to go home to?

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I have some photos on flickr as well as some videos.  The photos and videos on December 9th were taken via cell phone (and not a good one at that). The videos are somewhat useless so I tend to use them more for the audio aspect of the video. There were some shots that just killed me because I did not have one of my better cameras but in this area you don't want to carry an expensive camera that will draw attention.

A few of the dark night videos were taken the night before on 12/8. I was using the video function on my cell phone to record audio as facebook does not support mobile / remote uploads of audio files. The order of these photos and videos is somewhat random but I did try to group the night videos from 12/8 and put them ahead of the 12/9 material.

One interesting part of the day was a large film crew which shut down access to some of the SRO Hotels. We learned they were filming a Stay-Free Maxi Pad commercial in the heart of skid row on the street where the police station has an entrance. Of all the places they could have chosen to film? The residents told the film crew that this was skid row and the film crew said nobody would know that in the competed commercial. Something of a disagreement started and I was able to video/audio the last part but missed the more heated action. I suggested to the film crew that they change the script ... have a stabbing where somebody runs into the police station and asks a female officer for a maxi-pad to subdue the bleeding while waiting for paramedics to arrive. Both sides ... film crew and local residents found my commentary humorous.  There is also a poor quality video taken with my cell phone which is posted in another blog entry on this blog site.