Debra has been homeless in Venice Beach for nine years. After her roommate died, she was given two weeks to move. Although she receives Social Security Disability Income, it’s still not enough to cover rent, so Debra ended up on the streets of Los Angeles.
Right before this interview, LAPD threatened to arrest Debra for being homeless. She was visibly upset. You don’t have to be a medical professional to see Debra is disabled. She is trying to survive the horrors of life on the streets and for an elderly homeless woman, Debra lives in constant anxiety and fear.
The criminalization of homelessness continues in almost every community. Instead of offering people the help they need, police harass homeless people in an attempt to push them out of sight.
Whenever I meet someone like Debra, I wonder what they were like when they first became homeless. She’s been on the streets for a very long time. Too long. Debra has survived hell many times over. If we were able to help Debra and those like her as the enter into homelessness get off the streets into housing, my guess is that after a short period of healing, people would restabilize and be able to take care of themselves.
The homeless sector is structured to only help the most vulnerable. That means that Debra is still not yet vulnerable enough to get the help she needs. Think about that for a moment. People have to become so vulnerable that the government will have to take care of them for the rest of their lives.
The issue is the lack of resources. Since there is not enough housing for everyone, even though housing saves lives and saves taxpayer money, the homeless sector prioritizes those who need it most. We need your help in making sure there is enough housing for everyone who needs it.