Sunday, June 1, 2014

Homeless in Los Angeles: A growing epidemic?

Los Angeles is the place that dreams are made of; if you believe in that kind of stuff. Millionaires and billionaires have big houses in the hills as they enjoy the fruits of their labors, as well they have the right to do. The hustle and bustle of the movie, television, and music industry nearly drowns out the cry for help heard on the streets of Los Angeles County though. You would think in a place with so much money floating around that it would be the place to go if you wanted to find work or make something of yourself. Be careful what you wish for though.

Danny's Grace deals with a lot of issues that kids face and homelessness is one of them. Danny has been everywhere from top to bottom and back up again. The reality is, too many children are left homeless for various reasons and there has to be an answer to it.

There are more than 58,000 people homeless on the streets of Los Angeles County. That is approximately 16 percent more homeless people than were counted in 2011. A homeless count is conducted every two years in the county to help determine if the problem is getting better and/or what measures can be taken to eradicate the problem. It appears whatever measures are being taken currently, they are not working.

From the last count in 2013, there were 6248 veterans without homes in L.A. County. More than 16,000 homeless people in the county were deemed severely mentally ill. It was also found that 4827 of the homeless were victims of domestic violence and more than 19,000 had substance abuse problems. 4,677 of the homeless were under the age of 18 and many of them were runaways who were either in abusive homes or were thrown out because of pregnancy or sexual orientation.

The list goes on and on and the stories are not all the same. This is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed, and there are a lot of people pitching in to help the cause. There are many who do not take on the cause, or any cause for that matter, and that’s a darn shame. What’s even more a shame is that so many celebrities take on causes in other countries (and that’s noble), but overlook the problem that is literally in their own backyard. Look for a list of celebrities at the bottom of this page who have helped fight homelessness in the United States.

There are also reports that the federal government has lowered funding for homeless issues and that does not help matters. What it comes down to is finding people who are willing to help others who are in a bad way. So what if you think every homeless person must be on drugs and that is why they are in that position. I doubt that more than 58,000 people are too lazy to go out and work. That is because it would be a false statement to say that they were. Once you are homeless, you find yourself hard-put to get back on track.

So, how do you help? That’s the easy part. You volunteer at shelters or food kitchens. For the Richie Rich people, set up a foundation to help a particular group of homeless. For instance, you like to help veterans, then help them by getting them off the streets. Do not just offer them a place to sleep for one night. Offer them hope for the future by creating jobs for them. Don’t like veterans? Help a family who has children and are sleeping on the streets. Don’t like little children, help a runaway who was abused in their homes. Don’t like abused kids, help teenagers who were tossed out of their home for being so. 

THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION TO CELEBRITY/PEOPLE WITH MONEY. Don’t like any of those causes? Help someone who is addicted get the treatment they need so that they can move forward with a productive life. I am stepping down from that soapbox for now.

 Los Angeles County is not the only place in America that has a homeless problem. It is safe to say that there are homeless people throughout the United States who may need help. Obviously, for me, a child being homeless is unacceptable and disgraceful. Every child should have a safe place to lay their heads at night. Anyway, that is my take on the Los Angeles homeless problem. A place where billions of dollars float through the economy every year, taxes are completely out of hand and still more than 58,000 people have found themselves without a place to call home. Tsk, tsk.

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