Imagine your only choice for housing is a tent and the rain starts coming down nonstop for days. The public falsely believes homeless people like to be homeless that they are living homeless by choice. No refrigeration to preserve food, no wifi for Netflix, no bathrooms, and no escape from the bad weather. There are no days off, no vacation days, there is no personal leave – every single day homeless people have to fight just to survive. In rainy or snowy weather, homelessness goes from worse to beyond horrible.
I have made several good friends who live on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. They are good people; they just happen to be homeless. It breaks my heart thinking about what they have to endure when the weather is like is – cold and wet.
People are dying homeless. The other night my friend CJ’s friend died in her tent. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be living in a tent when a person sleeping next to you passes away. According to Los Angeles County Coroner records, more than 1,200 homeless people have died since 2017.
In this video, I attempt to give you a little glimpse of what homelessness is like in the rain. The reality is I can stand outside with a camera, but it’s impossible to transmit the emotional trauma homeless people experience living outside in the elements without any real support! The last homeless count reports that around 850 people are without homeless in Venice, California. At best, the number is a good guess. The reality is there are far more people experiencing homelessness that are not counted.
We know how to end homelessness. We have known for years how to end homelessness. We just need the public support to do it. I any city in America, there is not enough housing and there is not enough support to help all of the people who are in desperate need. WE MUST CHANGE THAT!
This week the rain in Venice Beach, California reminded me of the time about nine years ago when I stood in front of a Los Angeles Winter Shelter in the pouring rain and recorded a video asking LAHSA’s leadership why they were kicking homeless seniors and homeless people with disabilities out into the monsoon weather.