Could you imagine growing up on the streets of Los Angeles as a child? Homelessness is difficult to understand but easier to rationalize if it’s an adult you see living on the streets. According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, in 2019, approximately 50,000 to 60,000 persons may be found homeless on a given night. Children, from minors up to age 24, make up 8,915 of the county’s homeless population!
I’ve heard many logical and sensible reasons for the cause of the vast homelessness in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The first and foremost, I feel was Ronald Reagan’s decision to deinstitutionalize mentally ill patients to begin with in the state of California. Basically, his desire to cut the federal budget by closing down mental hospitals has lead to a huge portion of the homeless (houseless) crisis population on the streets of California, unable to make rationale decisions for their well being. That’s great, thanks Ronnie!!!
I’ve talked to others that feel that it’s not a homelessness problem but an addiction one. For many who live on the streets, drugs seem to be a way of escaping this reality. Unfortunately, cheap street drugs can cause psychological issues that are irreversible leading to more mentally ill. Others seem to prefer their freedom rather than living in a shelter where sobriety is required or medication is given by administration to stay there.
Before I get back to the homeless children of Los Angeles, I want to reflect on a conversation that I recently had with a homeless shelter employee. She said that her shelter looks like a convalescent home because of all the elderly that have no where to go. They didn’t save enough for the future or the city’s rising cost have taken their home. Many families live in their cars, in parking lots that allow homeless to park over night providing a safer place to sleep.
The shelter employee went on to say how many students are homeless. I’ve heard about the rising number of college students that are homeless to afford rising cost of schools but I had no idea that the Los Angeles Unified School District identified 17,494 students as homeless. This term homeless includes those living in shelters, motels, cars, doubled up with other families and those who are unsheltered. They typically go unnoticed because the homeless in tents seem to be the norm.
I’ve also heard that cities and states give some of the homeless populations in their area one way bus tickets to new locations like Los Angeles and San Francisco. That’s absolutely ridiculous and so thoughtless to your fellow Americans that are now dealing with a huge problem that should have been dealt with else where. It’s sad for these homeless people and for the weak people responsible for shipping away their locally, challenged citizens. What happened to love, understanding, and doing what’s best for your neighbor?
It breaks my heart to think of all the homeless children. Why aren’t more gated low income housing communities being built for these individuals and families? Why haven’t mental hospitalities been refunded and opened to help with the many mentally disabled on the streets? Why aren’t new psychiatrist just out of school being hired to go out on the streets and talk to the homeless, helping them psychologically and feel loved?
Homelessness has a new face. A mother struggling to feed her children or a father who has lost his job. This homeless crisis could have traumatic effects on the children who have no choice where they grow up. What could it lead to for our character Raphe?