Los Angeles’s Koreatown Residents Helping Homeless People

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Imagine the impact we’d have in ending homelessness if every community took action to help their homeless neighbors. Well, that’s exactly what’s happening in Los Angeles’s Koreatown, and I hope this video inspires more people to take tangible actions to help homeless people.

After protests started against a proposed homeless shelter in Koreatown, a few concerned citizens decided to counter protest. What’s impressive is their community action didn’t stop there. The group of local Koreatown residents started doing outreach on their own and Shelter For All Koreatown was born.

Some of you already know Oculus selected Invisible People to partner with film and television director Rose Troche to produce a virtual reality film on homelessness. I was in Los Angeles taking Rose out on the streets as part of the research for the film. This vlog is just a glimpse of the experience we had volunteering with Shelter For All Koreatown.

The most important message in this video is that each and every community can take tangible actions to help their homeless neighbors. Homeless service providers are giving their all to help homeless people, but often they are overwhelmed unable to respond. Bureaucracy also gets in the way of homeless services’ ability to take quick actions. As you will see in this vlog, you don’t have to be a professional outreach worker to help people. Just do it!

I hope you notice that Shelter For All Koreatown listened to homeless people and then started to help with their real needs. I cannot stress how essential listening is. Many social workers and homeless service providers don’t listen to the people they serve. Listening to homeless people gives valuable insight into how you can genuinely help people.

It’s also important to note that the people of Los Angeles see homelessness and homeless services system more realistically than many politicians and providers do. In this video, Jane shares how she has tried to connect with social services many times to find help for people, but there is rarely even a response. Angelenos have learned that contacting social services can be frustrating. I found it interesting that Jane reached out to Mel Tillakaratne, the founder of the SheDoes movement to help instead of contacting homeless services.

Often when I am out on the streets, I never know if I’ll be able to cut it into a vlog or not. As I was reviewing the footage, I realized that what I shot was a real look at Los Angeles homelessness as seen through the eyes of concerned residents. I am not the best cameraman, and I hate to edit video, but I knew I had to get this video up to tell this story. I just hope it motivates others to start helping homeless people!

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