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)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

How many people can I feed?

Today on Facebook one of my friends asked me, "how many people can you feed".  I post things to facebook and at times on twitter when I am down on skid row trying to assist the residents of the area.  I also take photos and videos at times which are posted, many times posted in real time thanks to technology of today.

Here is my response to the question.

How many people can you feed?

It varies. I look at my situation as not feeding people as much as it is giving them a snack, usually a healthy one such as oatmeal bars, bananas, nuts, dried fruit. In those cases I can pass out these snacks to half a dozen to two dozen or so folks. These folks are the people that do not go to the missions or shelters for reasons of their own. They are the ones you see on the streets in the entry of some buildings, along the street on 5th, 6th near San Julian, San Pedro etc.

I have access to a place on Wall Street where I can leave food items so I do not have to try to transport it on the subway. Some evenings during the week I can take up to a dozen or so folks to the Central Market where one of the vendors of Chinese food gives what is left from the day to the people I bring there about 20 minutes prior to close of business. Rather than toss it, he just donates it. Last night I had hot dogs, buns, mustard and relish that were purchased at Smart and Final. The butane stove was borrowed as was the pot for the boiling water.

The hot dogs that folks had last night and the snacks that I pass out at night are all financed by some of my friends. My L.A. blog on the homeless, economy and architecture of L.A. has a list of people on the right hand side of the page who are the folks that pay for all this. Some of the folks listed send money quite often and I could not pull this off without their help. If any of you folks are reading this .... thanks again! Some folks I met through my blog when they hit the donate button to access my paypal account. I then was able to start a dialogue with them.

I try to get folks to go to the missions. They have long term solutions, long term help and full healthy meals. Sometimes I can pull it off but most times it is very difficult. The people that live on the street have their reasons and their reasons are as varied as the reasons they have for living there. I have not been able to come up with a handful of reasons they prefer the street to a shelter. Maybe my friend Don Garza would have an explanation from a viewpoint of somebody who has lived on the street. I am sure the folks at Union Rescue Mission, The Midnight Mission, Los Angeles Mission or one of the other missions have information on why some people prefer the street. In the end, the best place to try to get these folks to go to are the missions with their longer term programs.

Well, that turned into a pretty long answer to a direct and to the point question! Hope I answered the question somewhere in there! I am probably going to copy and paste this into a blog entry.

This is a common sleeping spot on Skid Row.  The foundation is cardboard with a covering of discarded carpet backing felt.  Sometimes there is a blue plastic tarp if the weather is wet. 

Some folks are mobile.  I suppose this is something of a large motorhome in the big picture for some folks.  The scale of being homeless is a very wide scale that extends from cardboard beds on the cement to people living out of their cars.  There are some areas of the city where old motorhomes and campers are parked on the streets and are residences for a number of people.   I have seen some larger motorhomes which are quite modern parked in long term airport parking or at Wal-Mart where they allow parking of RVs at night.  Many of those folks lost their homes due to the current economic conditions and this is their first step down the road of being homeless.  If they do not find work or if things do not turn around they continue down the road to Skid Row.  At some point they sell their RV to be able to continue to eat.

During the day many of these folks just sit and wait for night.  The cycle continues until it is broken by something which in many cases is a violent act either close to their space, act upon them or act by them on others.  Many people believe that homeless people are all drunks, drug users or just plain crazy.  If you spend a few weeks on the street you will also become somewhat crazy yourself.  There is a growing segment of the population who were affluent in their own recent past.  They lost their jobs, lost their home and are now on the the streets themselves.  Maybe you noticed the nice shoes above?  One of the biggest problems facing the homeless who wander the streets are foot problems when they cannot keep clean and do not have decent footwear.  These shoes are one of the things that are supplied by some of the missions.  I know that the folks at Untion Rescue Mission ( www.urm.org ) supplies shoes, clothes, showers, laundry facilities, medical and dental clinics, legal assistance for various problems, and a host of programs for long term help.  They do not just supply a place to lie down for the night and a meal.  Think about hitting one of the mission websites and seek their donate page if you want to help. 

When I took this picture I did not think all that much about it.  The scene and situation is all too common.  Later I looked a for a few seconds.  "Please reuse or recycle ... "  Talk about taking that phrase to the limit!  The slogan of "Kohl's, expect great things".  I cannot begin to think about the contrast of the slogan and the situation here.

Some people have no cardboard or felt to sleep on.

Most people find it easier to just ignore the issue.

I have posted a number of terrific videos from many other folks in my blog and in other places.  This is one of my own and shows what is almost the lowest level on the homeless ladder.  No cardboard or felt bed, no plastic tarp or trash bag.  It is cold and wet outside.  The sheters are filled to capacity.  This person had no where to go so he went to the subway for shelter.  Some folks go there where they intend to be picked up by law enforcement so they may be able to receive a night in jail with a roof over their head.

The line along the building across the street are people in line for a meal at The Midnight Mission.  The line wraps around the building.  These lines can also be seen at Union Rescue Mission, Los Angeles Mission and other missions.  As a side note, these lines are here three meals a day, 365 days a week.

The number of homeless vets continues to be a very large segment of the population.  The V.A. may have supplied the wheelchair but sometimes the chair has more value to carry your house and all of the contents of your house if you are able to walk at all.

Sometimes I cannot figure out how some of these people can remain mobile.  Here is a method of life centered around a backpack rather than a shopping cart.

Social life outside of the missions and shelters.

There are warnings .....

.... which some people ignore.

- the end -