Probably hundreds of people walked by Rob on Hollywood Blvd. The very few that gave money didn’t stop long enough to actually meet Rob and listen to his story. Rob sat on the most famous sidewalk in the world while most of the world passed by as if he was invisible.
Rob doesn’t want to be called homeless. He prefers the term “domestically challenged”. Rob says his story is the classic sob story. Ron was working putting himself through college. He was even engaged to be married. A drunk driver hit his car. The accident started a downward financial spiral, and over time, the end result – Ron lost everything and hasn’t been able to recover since.
The night before this interview Rob slept on the streets in Hollywood, which is illegal. Rob has actually been ticketed for sleeping outside. It’s very sad, and very costly to taxpayers, that communities continue to increase the criminalization of homeless people as a solution to ending homelessness!
Rob speaks very candid about the recidivism of homeless people being placed into housing and, mostly because the housing was a wrong fit, or lack of community, or real support, the person goes back to living on the streets. Its the side of the housing first model you don’t often hear about. The pressure to get housing placements up is felt by all homeless services. Often to meet those numbers, people are placed in housing that is not a match for their needs. The pressure needs to be placed on getting people into the right housing and not just any housing!
When I asked Ron for his three wishes he responded, “Eating, sleeping, or for using the bathroom, there should never be a charge! If I’m paying for my freedom, then I purchased a lie.”