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, December 26, 2010

Christmas evening. What has changed in a year?

I spent most of Christmas Eve Day downtown in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles.  I wrote a blog post about the day with some photos of the activities at Union Rescue Mission. 

All of the missions were having celebrations and there were a lot of terrific activities and meals being served.

Last year I spent the same period walking the streets of the area.  I thought that it might be interesting to pick a specific area where there was no street activity last Christmas and see what has changed in the last year if anything.

There was one factor which would slant the observation.  Last year it was not raining.  This year record rain had fallen in Los Angeles over the last week.  It had been dry on Christmas but Christmas night the rain started once again.  I have decent rain gear so I headed downtown about the time the rain started coming down heavy.

Even if there had been no rain I was ready to find people in the area this year where there were none last year.  The economy has not improved, many folks have lost what unemployment benefits they were receiving as their 99 week clock ran out.   I had walked the same grid less than six weeks ago and found that there were folks on the street in the evenings.

In any case, perhaps folks had found shelter for Christmas night.

In 1984 and 1985 I was a reserve Sheriff.  I wrote the database software for the Sheriff Department at the time.  Dbase II to Dbase III to Oracle and beyond.  I learned a bit about reporting and districts, patrol areas and having friends in LAPD Central Division gave me some additional insight to their procedures.  I utilize their grids and areas for my own outings.

I finished up my conversations that I was having with some folks on facebook via computer.  Many times before I head downtown I let folks know where I am going to be.  There are times when some folks meet up with me.  There are also folks that follow the night in real time once I go mobile via texts, cell photo and cell video.

I headed for car area 1A29.  This area has boundaries to the freeway on the North, 7th street to the South, San Pedro St. to the West and the river wash to the East.  This area is broken down into maybe a dozen areas the LAPD refers to as basic car areas. 

It is easy to get to this area via the Metro Gold Line and get off at Little Tokyo Station.  It is a short walk to Alameda and 1st.  I headed to reporting district 139, one of the areas within 1A29.

A few weeks ago or perhaps a bit more, I posted some real time status updates, photos, videos and commentary in real time in this same area.  I have my data from the last outing in this area so I will be able to compare some rough stats with those of a few weeks ago. 

My hope was that I would find nobody sleeping on the streets on the night of Christmas.  Considering the rain I may find nobody on the street tonight in this area at all.  Maybe they found shelter at one of the missions to the west.

I was armed with my bag from http://www.moorenmoore.com/ sporting clays, my shooting bag.  Rather than carry shotgun shells I load it with Kellogg's Nutri Grain Bars, Quaker Granola Bars and a handfull of what I refer to as meal cards from Union Rescue Mission - http://www.urm.org/

These cards can be a hard sell to give out when folks are set in their mind that the street is where they want to be.  Still, when I can give one out I feel that I have made a small step forward. 

I walked East on 1st street to South Garey St.  At Garey and 2nd was Micah the first person that I spoke to in the evening.  Blue plastic tarp to cover his area.  A dark Hefty trash can bag as his workable rain gear.

We talked for a few minutes.  He said there were people in the area even on Christmas.  I left him with two bars.  He did not want a meal card.  He was aware of URM and said he eats there at times and also frequents the Fred Jordan Mission.  We wished each other a Merry Christmas and both expressed hope that 2011 would be better than 2010. 

Number 1 for the evening.

I walked East on 3rd street for a while.  At about the 950 block of 3rd there is an alley that leads north.  There were four people in the alley.  I handed out bars.  No meal cards were accepted.  One of the people asked if the Metro was still free.  I said I was not sure but thought it may be free until midnight on Christmas day.  I think last year from Christmas Eve through Christmas day the Metro was no charge.  It is one place to keep warm and dry for a little while.

Number 2,3,4,5 for the evening.

I headed north on Vignes Street.

There is a building in the 190 block as you head north, on the west side of Vignes.  There are overhangs where people tend to seek shelter.  Number 6,7 people for the night.

Back to 1st street to parallel the Metro Gold Line tracks heading east.

Just above Santa Fe street there is an alcove in the bridge.  Number 8 for the evening.

I turned around on 1st and headed west again.  I headed back to Little Tokyo Station.

I had found eight people living on the street where last year at Christmas there were none in the area. 

The number may have been higher if it were not raining. 

All eight people agreed that there are more people on the street this year than last year. 

All eight had been living on the street most of 2010. 

All were aware of the services offered by Union Rescue Mission.

What changed in a year?  I did not see any change for the better. 

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