I am no stranger to Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles. 25 years ago, I spent a little time as a homeless man. I also worked at a ministry within walking distance, and I was on staff at the church across the street producing their weekly television show. My last marketing job in 2008, that laid me off, setting into motion the start of Invisible People, my office overlooked Echo Park Lake.
Yesterday was my first visit since June when I interviewed a few people you now know from this channel. It’s shocking to see how the tent community is growing with the number of new tents, but with homelessness continuing to skyrocket in Los Angeles, homelessness is increasing all over the city.
Some other changes are happening at this homeless camp. The community is getting organized. The place is cleaner. They have a food pantry and made their own showers. But wait – they have even figured out a way to hire people living in tents to do jobs in the community.
Ayman once lived homeless on the streets of Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Like many of the unhoused residents in the Echo Park Lake homeless community, he is filled with energy, love, and spirituality. Homelessness is hell, and on top of that, police and park rangers are constantly harassing homeless people that live in this park, so it’s amazing that folks are staying positive and building this community.
The community that is being built by homeless people for homeless people at Echo Park Lake s absolutely gorgeous. Ayman and other residents believe that they will be able to create a permanent home there. In a perfect world, no one would be without a home, but wouldn’t it be great if homeless people and housed people learned to co-exist peacefully and support each other? Maybe this community is the model to make that happen. I sure hope it is.
Here is a link if you’d like to support the camp https://linktr.ee/Echoparkriseup
Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will continue to get worse. Click here to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.