I was walking downtown Los Angeles and happened to meet Kat in the Hat, which is the name this gentle homeless man prefers to go by. One of the saddest things to witness is a homeless person making their bed for the night in a doorway, sidewalk or some other place unfit for a human to sleep. I never wake anyone up, but Kat in the Hat was still awake and he wanted to share his story.
Kat in the Hat you may think is a funny name, but the streets can quickly change a person and many people adapt to using their street name. Kat in the Hat has lived homeless in downtown Los Angeles for eight years. He receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is often a requisite to get into housing. Kat in the Hat told me that he is on a waiting list and he should be in housing soon. Being candid, Kat in the Hat should have been in housing a long time ago, but even when a person is ready and has the qualifying disability income, there is zero housing to be found! Los Angeles, like many big and even small cities these days, is facing a serious housing crisis. The vacancy rate (available apartments) in Los Angeles right now is only 2%.
Kat in the Hat is a kind person. I could sit and talk to him for hours. But here’s the thing – he should have been housed years ago. I know it was a different time when Kat in the Hat first became homeless. The supportive housing models we have today may not have been around then, yet I cannot help but wonder how housing may have changed his life for the better!
We really must all start taking tangible action to support getting people off the streets and into homes!