Featured Video Play Icon

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.

IP 19 Logo Icon crop

Invisible People


We imagine a world where everyone has a place to call home. Until then, we strive to be the most trusted source for homelessness news, education and advocacy.

Related Topics

Get the Invisible People newsletter


80 years old and homeless veteran in Los Angeles needs help


Displaced - social impact fim

Displaced: When Surviving Homelessness is a Crime

Homeless man sitting on sidewalk near Skid Row Los Angeles


homeless woman in Grants Pass



landlord murders child

Landlord Murders 6-Year-Old Muslim Boy in Heinous Hate Crime

Homeward Bound programs for homeless people

San Francisco Sending Homeless People Anywhere But Here

McPherson Park sweeps and impact of Encampment guide

Advocates Alarmed Over New USICH Encampment Guide 

San Francisco housing nonprofit HomeRise audited

Audit Reveals HomeRise’s Financial Mismanagement

Get the Invisible People newsletter