When I asked Carlos what it was like on Skid Row he said it was a “terrible feeling” and that you feel like a failure. Carlos says that homelessness “dehumanizes” you.
Carlos has been on the streets of Skid Row for a year and a half, ever since he got out of prison. It a sad fact about today’s society, that after a person has paid the price for their mistakes, we continue to punish them. Once you have a felony it’s nearly impossible to find a job. In most States you cannot get food stamps or other support. Homelessness or committing more crimes to survive are often the only two choices!
Carlos said something true that I hope haunts you as well as it haunts me. He said, “at least in prison you have everything you need. Out here you don’t”!
I am not sure if you are aware that the use of private prisons are growing, and that private prisons are public companies with their stock traded on Wall Street. Their business model to investors is to keep jails full. There is zero incentive to help people get back into society. Add to that 60% of people in jail today are nonviolent drug offenders! Does anyone but me see how horrible this is?
I have a lot of respect for Carlos. It’s not easy fighting to get your life back, but that is just what he is doing. As Carlos points out and you’ll hear me say – we do not make it easy for people to get out of homelessness.
Before we’ll ever come close to ending homelessness we need to fix how people from jails and prison reenter society. It’s really a slap on all of our faces that so many men and women go from being incarcerated to homelessness!
Special thanks to Los Angeles Mission