The reality is that the number of homeless people in our city affects all of Los Angeles’ citizens. As Hollywood students/residents – which has one of the biggest homeless populations in L.A. – we should be concerned.
Since 2010, the homelessness index has increased more than 75%, meaning that there are roughly 22,000 more people in the streets now. According to the L.A. Times, this number jumps to 25,000 if we include Glendale, Pasadena, and Long Beach.
It has become common to see unsheltered people looking for a place to sleep in the bus or metro, often being removed by the police. Citizens who otherwise live in respectable residential areas may find themselves running into homeless communities (sidewalks or streets lined with tents, mattresses, and cardboard) that smell like human feces and rotting food. Downtown is an excellent example of these unhygienic communities. This experience is never pleasant and one may come to the realization that humans should never be living in these conditions, even if they cannot afford to obtain a home.
The current growing homeless population can be very difficult to combat because of the limited number of government-provided support, which includes shelters, food-providing programs, and housing support. Sadly, charity-run organizations, although helpful, cannot solve this issue alone.
As concerned members of the community, our students should be willing to show their support of crowds escaping homelessness. A great opportunity to help is by donating clothes directly to homeless institutions or donating your time. At Blessed Sacrament Church (6615 W Sunset Blvd), located three blocks from Hollywood High School, they offer this donation service. Every Saturday morning the church’s staff and volunteers make food baskets and donate whatever they can to homeless crowds. It is rewarding to be able to help those in need, especially when their faces light up, realizing they are going to have a full meal that night. Students can even complete their volunteer hours, which are part of the graduation requirements. Help yourself by helping your community.