I never pose my subjects. My wandering camera captured this lonesome guitarist practicing his art while dreaming of future musical fame and fortune. When you stroll in busy cities, and stop to enjoy street musicians, offer some kindness and encouragement. Also an appreciative dollar or so.
The recent Los Angeles Times report also adds the shocking news that the numbers have increased in the area by nearly 50% in just four years! There are many reasons for the disturbing statistics, including drug and/or alcohol addiction and mental illness. Adding to the problem is the never-ending inflation that is devastating America’s poorest.
I see sad examples of homelessness on my daily hikes along Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. The dozen final miles of the nation’s Route 66 then pass through the luxury communities of Beverly Hills, Bel Aire and Westwood, on to Malibu and other Pacific Ocean beaches.
Among all of those displays of great wealth wander some of the saddest, poorest people in our nation. Other than individual reasons for being homeless, their tragedies are made worse by California’s grossly high prices of real estate, rentals and all other ever-increasing sky-high costs of living.
The London Daily Mail recently ran an article about fake homeless beggars on English city streets who actually make good incomes, often from tourists. Of course, many you see in in your travels are truly homeless for various reasons, including alcoholism, drugs and mental illnesses.
However, whether you’re a tourist or resident who often encounters the fake or real homeless, giving cash is not the best way to help. It will only keep the crooked ones in business, as well as increase the problems of the truly destitute addicts and those with mental illnesses.
If you feel concern for street people in your neighborhood or on your travels, most effectively help them by donating to legitimate charities, such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army. Those and other community organizations need your contributions so that the scourge of homelessness can be dealt with most effectively.
When your tourist ventures include Hollywood Boulevard, you’ll enjoy all the attractions, including the Walk of Fame, vintage movie theaters, souvenir shops, tours of star homes, costumed characters and all the rest. You’ll also encounter other, less entertaining sights.
The famed boulevard is also a sad location for many homeless wanderers. When I worked for a newspaper there in the late 1950s, my one-bedroom apartment rent was $80 a month. In same building it now costs $1,800. With housing and everything else these days grossly expensive and getting worse, the homeless situation throughout the Los Angeles area continues to grow.
Hollywood is still enjoyable to visit, and if a costumed character poses with you for a photo, offer a couple of dollars. However, if you don’t want to give money directly to homeless people there because they’re possibly drug and alcohol addicts, you can still help them. Donate to authorized charities, such as Red Cross, Salvation Army and others specializing in offering shelter, rehab and other professional aid to them.
Make this happy season more meaningful by contributing to an organization that provides aid for the unfortunate. Consider poor people you encounter in your travels at home and around the world.
Donate to traditional national and international groups, such as the Salvation Army and Red Cross, as well as local church and others. They’ll appreciate your help for those in need.
Scheduled for Saturday, November 18 in the city’s downtown Grand Park, the event is held to raise money and aid programs for those unfortunates who roam the streets of Los Angeles.
The city has one of the largest homeless populations in America, totaling a staggering 57,000! And with raging inflation and rising unemployment, it’s increasing every year. For event locations, times and other info, go to UnitedWayLA.org/homewalk
Just a short distance from the posh beaches of Malibu, glittering streets of Hollywood and rich mansions of Beverly Hills, more than 5,000 homeless live on the sidewalks of Los Angeles.
I see the wanderers on daily walks along busy Santa Monica Avenue, where they trod east to downtown LA or west to Pacific Ocean beaches. At night they rest on the sidewalks, on park benches, and in makeshift tents.
Many of the homeless are veterans, some from the most recent wars in the Middle East, as well as elderly vets of earlier wars. Wouldn’t it be a happy miracle if our government decided to spend less money preparing for the next war, and use it to to decare war on the poverty in its streets.