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)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Homelessness. There are individuals within the statistics.

Each day most of us are subjected to news.  News on the radio, television, newspapers, on the Internet.

The news supplies statistics.  Fires in Colorado which have consumed tens of thousands of acres.  Unless your house or a house belonging to somebody important to you was lost in one of those acres that burned we tend to turn a blind eye to the news.

How many people were killed or injured in Afghanistan this week?  Unless one of them was somebody you loved you probably did not have your life changed much if at all.

How many people lost their homes to foreclosure?  I am sure you understand my point.

When the word Homeless is heard by many individuals their thought process may create mental images of people who are mentally ill, who may be  alcoholics, people who have substance abuse problems or are just people that do not want to work and expect a handout.

There is much more to this story.  Click "read more" below for the more complete story.

Maybe more of us need to picture an image like the one above when we hear the word homeless.

I will try to help some of you define a new way of looking at the homeless.

Last week, 389,000 people lost their jobs and joined the ranks of the unemployed who are counted.  The prior week in May the number was 373,000.  The first week in June the number was 377,000.

The people in the above statistics were not people who could not hold a job, were not people who did not want to work, were not people who let alcohol, drugs, or mental issues impact their ability to work.  These were all people that not only had a job but also paid into a system of unemployment insurance.  In 99 weeks they will drop from the ranks of the counted and they will no longer receive help from the government, a government who continues to support programs and activities all over the globe while not being able to improve the economy.

After 99 weeks many of these folks are out of options.  Many lose their residence.  

Just like the fire that consumed thousands of acres and homes in a big picture or like the picture of our troops and civilians dying or being injured all over the globe it is generally the big picture that is reported and not the individual stories.

Los Angeles has the distinction of having the highest homeless population in the nation.  This is not a surprise considering the population and the economy in Southern California in spite of the current economic climate.

Referring back a few paragraphs to those unemployment numbers, it may be safe to assume that many of those people who lost their job were in Southern California.  Remember that each week when over a quarter of a million people join the ranks of the counted who are receiving benefits for the first time an equal (and generally higher) number of people are dropped from the ranks of the counted and stop receiving assistance.  99 weeks being out of work may also coincide with the loss of your residence.

I am going to look at a few facts and figures.  

Union Rescue Mission - www.urm.org - is the largest organization in Los Angeles whose primary and only mission is to help the homeless.  

I do not wish to sound like a broken record and repeat what I have written since 2009 but, services provided by URM double each year.  Their donations drop to half each year.  The services they provide can only be provided when people like you help with donations or assistance.

Maybe take a moment and follow the URM link above to their donate page.  You can donate via any form of credit card, call in or mail in a donation and even use paypal.  If that is too difficult or complicated you can feed 5 people for $10 right from you cell phone.  You don't even need an Internet enabled phone.  A simple text message.  Text the letters URM to 85944.  You will receive a confirmation message and just confirm.  For $10 the folks at URM can feed five people.  If you want a mental image, picture a family of five at a dinner table.  Maybe picture your own family who takes sitting down for a family dinner fore-granted.

Union Rescue Mission does more than just provide a healthy meal to an individual.  URM provides services seven days a week, 365 days a year.  I'd like to look at some of what the folks at URM accomplished in May of 2012.

554 people received health care. 554 individuals who had no medical insurance or other options.

592 people received dental care. 175 of these were women who were guests or referrals and not part of an ongoing URM program.  

The reason I mention the people who were not part of a URM program is because when I walk the streets of skid row and pass out cards to direct folks to help at URM I often am confronted with misinformation.  I am told by some folks that URM will do nothing unless you are part of a full time program.  I do my best to update their information which is generally an attempt to receive money from me rather than receive a direction toward people who can help.  There are people that do not want help.  I mentioned this earlier in this piece.   In this piece I am trying to focus on people who want to change or people who want help and who are willing to move forward with life.

203 individuals were assisted at the URM legal clinic.

3,309 volunteer hours by some pretty terrific folks were added to the figures in May.

74,014 meals were served in May 2012.  A meal costs about $2.00.  Forget the lights, heat, water, showers, physical space and maintenance, staff and other operating expenses.  Forget about the volunteers that serve many of these meals.  We are looking at about $150,000 just to put a meals in front of individuals.  This is a fraction of the operating costs incurred by Union Rescue Mission.  Maybe take a moment to scroll back up and jot down that cell phone text number to feed five of the folks who would have gone hungry today.

22,679 nights with a roof over a head and a bed .... and bathroom facilities.  This is where it gets even more personal.  Think of this as over 22,000 nights not sleeping on the streets of Los Angeles.  

1,152 nights of shelter were for women with children who stayed on their own floor at URM.  414 of these nights were on another floor in a family program for parents with children.  2,710 nights of shelter for children.  

716 nights of shelter for senior women at the URM Hope Gardens facility.  3,006 nights of shelter for children at Hope Gardens.  If Hope Gardens did not exist these children would be in the URM Los Angeles facility rather than in the Hope Gardens facility far from skid row.  Unfortunately there are not sufficient funds to house all the mothers with children at Hope Gardens.  Maybe somebody like Bill and Melissa Gates will see this and contact the folks at URM to help them expand.

The figures above are per individual.  

There are figures for families who are counted in their own category not noted above.  1,442 nights of shelter for families were provided at the URM downtown facility.  1,381 nights of shelter were provided for families at the Hope Gardens facility.

If we look at one specific day in the month of May we can begin to comprehend some of these big numbers in a more personal way.

I will pick a random night.  May 17.  I will focus on families, mothers and children.  These are people who would generally not fit the stereotypical picture that some people have of the homeless.

44 mothers did not have to sleep on the street on May 17, 2012
14 parents did not have to sleep on the street on May 17, 2012
101 children did not have to sleep on the street on this day and were able to remain with their mother or family. One night in a year.

One more way to look at this; 2,823 families had a place to live in the month of May in 2012 thanks to Union Rescue Mission and help from people like you.

Now take a moment to scroll back to the beginning of this piece and look at the out of work mom and her kids.  They are three individuals in the statistics that we read about or hear on the news who are much more than a simple statistic.  These are not mentally ill people, alcoholics, substance abusers, people who do not want to work.  They are people that need assistance.

Feel free to pass this piece to others.  Just copy the link and send it to others.

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