I first saw Lisa sitting alone on the top of the stairs. There were piles of black plastic bags around her, so I was pretty sure she was homeless. We started to make small talk. I asked her if she wanted to share her story. She agreed but told me that I needed to ask her husband. I didn’t see anyone around, and then all of a sudden a man comes running up the stairs carrying a shopping cart.
Frank and I started to talk. He agreed to the interview but told me he first had to carry all of their belongings up from the beach area below. If you’ve never been to Santa Monica, imagine a stairway going up the side of a cliff that’s probably several stories high. Frank made several trips each time letting me know a little more about their story and what he was carrying. At one point he showed me the little stove they use to cook on.
It’s been raining in Los Angeles, and the night before, they got soaking wet. They could not sleep and went to McDonald’s to get dry, where Lisa says they were treated like dogs. Both Lisa and Frank say people treat them like they are a disease.
We can no longer ignore people experiencing homelessness. Lisa and Frank are good people. They told me they lost their house in a fire, which caused their homelessness. That could happen to anybody. That could happen to you.