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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)

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Almost Forgotten: Los Angeles Homeless

The New York Times ran this story today. 

Los Angeles has the highest homeless population in the nation.  It was not a surprise to see a newspaper on the opposite side of the country write about the homeless in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Confronts Homelessness Reputation

By ADAM NAGOURNEY
Published: December 12, 2010

Breakfast at the Union Rescue Mission. The governmental structure of a county that includes 88 cities and a maze of conflicting jurisdictions, responsibilities and boundaries has made it nearly impossible for any one organization or person to take charge of the homeless issue.


LOS ANGELES — It was just past dusk in the upscale enclave of Brentwood as a homeless man, wrapped in a tattered gray blanket, stepped into a doorway to escape a light rain, watching the flow of people on their way to the high-end restaurants that lined the street.
 
Across town in Hollywood the next morning, homeless people were wandering up and down Sunset Boulevard, pushing shopping carts and slumped at bus stops. More homeless men and women could be found shuffling along the boardwalks of Venice and Santa Monica, while a few others were spotted near the heart of Beverly Hills, the very symbol of Los Angeles wealth.

And, as always, San Julian Street, the infamous center of Skid Row on the south edge of downtown Los Angeles, was teeming: a small city of people were making the street their home in a warm December sun, waiting for one of the many missions there to serve a meal.


The automobile culture makes encounters with the homeless less frequent in Los Angeles than in some cities, despite their numbers.


At a time when cities across the country have made significant progress over the past decade in reducing the number of homeless, in no small part by building permanent housing, the problem seems intractable in the County of Los Angeles.

It has become a subject of acute embarrassment to some civic leaders, upset over the county’s faltering efforts, the glaring contrast of street poverty and mansion wealth, and any perception of a hardhearted Los Angeles unmoved by a problem that has motivated action in so many other cities.

For national organizations trying to eradicate homelessness, Los Angeles — with its 48,000 people living on the streets, including 6,000 veterans, according to one count — stands as a stubborn anomaly, an outlier at a time when there has been progress, albeit modest and at times fitful, in so many cities.


Homeless men boarding a bus that will take them from the Skid Row area to the New Image Shelter a few miles away. For national organizations trying to eradicate homelessness, Los Angeles stands as a stubborn anomaly.


Its designation as the homeless capital of America, a title that people here dislike but do not contest, seems increasingly indisputable.

“If we want to end homelessness in this country, we have to do something about L.A.; it is the biggest nut,” said Nan Roman, the president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “It has more homeless people than anyplace else.”

Neil J. Donovan, the executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, said he believed that, after years of decline, there had been a slight rise in the number of homeless nationally this year because of the economic downturn, and that Los Angeles had led the way.
 
 
A man with his belongings in the Skid Row area. In a reflection of the growing concern, a task force created by the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles has stepped in with a plan, to end homelessness in five years. The idea is to, among other things, build housing for 12,000 of the chronically unemployed.


“Los Angeles’s homeless problem is growing faster than the overall national problem,” he said, “trending upwards in every demographic, dashing every hope of progress anywhere.”
 
In a reflection of the growing concern here, a task force created by the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles has stepped in with a plan, called Home for Good, to end homelessness here in five years. The idea is to, among other things, build housing for 12,000 of the chronically unemployed and provide food, maintenance and other services at a cost of $235 million a year.
 
 
The New Image Shelter offers dinner and a place to sleep. “Los Angeles’s homeless problem is growing faster than the overall national problem, trending upwards in every demographic, dashing every hope of progress anywhere,” said Neil J. Donovan, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless.


The proposal, based on the task force’s study of what other cities had done, was embraced by political and civic leaders even as it served as a reminder of how many of these plans have failed over the years.
 
“This is not rocket science,” said Zev Yaroslavsky of the County Board of Supervisors. “It’s been done in New York, it’s been done in Atlanta, and it’s been done in San Francisco.”
 
Part of the impetus for this most recent flurry of attention is concern in the business and political communities that the epidemic is threatening to tarnish Los Angeles’s national image and undercut a campaign to promote tourism, particularly in downtown, which has been in the midst of a transformation of sorts, with a boom of museums, concert halls, restaurants, boutiques, parks and lofts.

The gentrification has pushed many of the homeless people south, but they can still be seen settled on benches and patches of grass in the center of downtown.


Homeless men gathering their belongings after arriving at the New Image Shelter from Skid Row. Part of the impetus for this most recent flurry of attention is concern in the business and political communities that the epidemic is threatening to tarnish Los Angeles’s national image and undercut a campaign to promote tourism.


“If you have a homeless problem, then your sense of security is diminished, and that makes people not want to come,” said Jerry Neuman, a co-chairman of the task force. “It’s a problem that diminishes us in many ways: the way we view ourselves and the way other people view us.”

Fittingly enough, it was even the subject of a movie last year, “The Soloist,” which portrayed the relationship between a Los Angeles Times columnist, Steve Lopez, who has written extensively about the homeless, and a musician living on the streets.

The obstacles seem particularly great in this part of the country. The warm climate has always been a draw for homeless people. And the fact that people sleeping outside rarely die of exposure means there is less pressure on civic leaders to act. (In New York City, when a homeless woman known only as “Mama” was found dead at Grand Central Terminal on a frigid Christmas in 1985, it was front-page news that inspired a campaign to deal with the epidemic.)


Evaristo Quinones, homeless for several years, shaving at a park across the street from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. The warm climate has always been a draw for homeless people.


The governmental structure here, of a county that includes 88 cities and a maze of conflicting jurisdictions, responsibilities and boundaries, has defused responsibility and made it nearly impossible for any one organization or person to take charge.

And Los Angeles is a place where people drive almost everywhere, so there are fewer of the reminders of homelessness — walking around a sleeping person on a sidewalk, responding to requests for money at the corner — that are common in concentrated cities like New York.

“It’s easy to get up in the morning, go to work, drive home and never encounter someone who is homeless,” said Wendy Greuel, the Los Angeles city controller. “I don’t think it’s seeped into the public’s consciousness that homelessness is a problem.”


Homeless men arriving at the New Image shelter. In a time of severe budget retrenchment, the five-year goal of ending homelessness seems daunting, even though its drafters say that no new money will be needed to finance it.


The homelessness task force offered its plan at a conference that attracted some of the top elected officials here, including Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa and three of the five members of the Board of Supervisors, a notable show of political support.

“We believe that with the release of this plan, we now have a blueprint to end chronic homelessness and veteran homelessness,” said Christine Marge, director of housing for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

Yet in a time of severe budget retrenchment, the five-year goal seems daunting. Even though the drafters of the plan say that no new money will be needed to finance it — Los Angeles is already spending more than $235 million a year on hospital, overnight housing and police costs dealing with the homeless — government financing of all social services has come under assault.

“I don’t for a minute think it’s not going to require a tremendous amount of political will to make it happen,” said Richard Bloom, the mayor of Santa Monica. “Do I think it can happen? Yes, because I’ve seen what happens in other cities, like New York City, Denver and Boston.”

Still, Mr. Bloom, who said he regularly attended conferences involving officials from other communities, added: “Our numbers are way out of whack with those numbers I hear elsewhere. It’s just so much more enormous and daunting here.”

The original N.Y. Times article can be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/13/us/13homeless.html

The original N.Y. Times slideshow can be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/12/08/us/20101208HOMELESS.html

Today from KTLA News in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is Nation's Homeless Capital


Los Angeles holds the dubious distinction of being generally recognized as the nation's leader in homelessness.



LOS ANGELES ( KTLA) - Welcome to the homeless capital of America.


Los Angeles holds the dubious distinction of being generally recognized as the nation's leader in homelessness. Every day more than 48,000 people -- and according to one count, some 6,000 veterans -- are living on the streets of L.A.

"The Los Angeles homeless problem is growing faster than the overall national problem," according to Neil J. Donovan, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. "It's trending upwards in every demographic, dashing every hope of progress anywhere."

Because of the warm southern California weather, and a commuter mentality that lets Angelenos simply drive past the problem, the streets of L.A. have become a prime destination for those who find themselves forced to spend nights without a roof over their heads.

But now some help is on the way. A task force created by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles is offering a new plan called Home for Good, with an ambitious hope to end homelessness in L.A. Within five years.

Among the group's goals are to build housing for 12,000 of the chronically unemployed, and to provide food, maintenance, and other services for the homeless, at an estimated cost of $235 million per year.

Similar efforts have been put in place in other large American cities like New York, Atlanta, Denver, and San Francisco, and all agree that the time has come to address the homeless problems of L.A.

"If we want to end homelessness in this country, we have to do something about L.A. It is the biggest nut," said Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. "It has more homeless people than anybody else."

The issue of homelessness in Los Angeles is one that has received increased attention recently. It was even the subject of a major-release Hollywood film last year, "The Soloist," which chronicled the relationship between Los Angeles Time columnist Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a musician living on the streets.

Now those involved in the plan to address L.A.'s homeless problem are hopeful. "We believe that with the release of this plan, we now have the blueprint to end chronic homelessness and veteran homelessness," said Christine Marge, director of housing for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.


Myles Rose is the founder of Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting which provides support services and training for touring bands and individuals as well as blueprinting services.   You may contact me from the link.  My direct contact information is provided as well as links to two of the Internet forums where I answer technical questions.  You may also ask questions in any post in this blog by using the comment application on each post.

When I am not doing something related to music I do what I can to support the homeless of Los Angeles either directly on the streets at night or through my good friends at Union Rescue Mission.


3 comments:

  1. Hello,

    I am a 12th grade student at the School for the Visual Arts and Humanities (SVAH), an urban high school in Los Angeles with a social justice mission. Currently researching the problem of homelessness and how it affects our community. Reading this article has encouraged my group and I to really analyze this present issue in Los Angeles. Thank you, I know this is dated 2010 but remains an issue in 2012.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your comment.

    Although this was written at the end of 2010 the situation has not improved. It has actually gotten worse.

    The continued rise in people who have lost their jobs and other factors have increased the number of homeless.

    A link on a number of these pieces is http://la-economy.blogspot.com/search/label/homeless where you can learn a lot more. Feel free to use any of this material in any way you wish. You need not credit me with any of the material, feel free spread the information.

    Regards,

    Myles Rose

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous,

    If you would like to learn more directly or have a tour for you and any others at the largest mission in the nation, Union Rescue Mission, just let me know and I will be happy to put you into contact with some great folks at www.urm.org

    Regards,

    Myles

    ReplyDelete