If I didn’t meet Sunshine in front of the tent where she sleeps, I would not have guessed she is houseless. She does not look like stereotypical homeless women most people hold in their minds, yet Sunshine lives in a homeless encampment near Los Angeles International Airport.
Sunshine (not her real name) prefers the term houseless, which is a term that’s gaining popularity. Even NIMBYs (not in my backyard) have started using the term houseless. I prefer the term homeless, which made for an interesting conversation with Sunshine as we both shared our experiences with homelessness. Someday soon, I’ll produce some content on homeless phrases. In short, people should be called whatever term they are comfortable with. I only used “homeless” in the title instead of “houseless” because no one searches using houseless, and people must find Sunshine’s video.
Sunshine is from Utah. She was on a road trip of self-discovery and ended up stranded in Los Angeles. Before leaving Utah, Sunshine lived in her car and sometimes in a park in Salk Lake City.
Sunshine survives through the community in the homeless encampment and from the help of organizations like Street Watch, a coalition of organizers working to help unhoused people in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. You can find more information about Street Watch here: https://streetwatchla.com
Sunshine wants to go back to Utah. She has a son that she misses. Sunshine also has a big goal of building homes for homeless people. She believes God wanted her to experience homelessness so she can better help the unhoused community. I am always in awe about how many people experiencing homelessness want to help others.
I love the conversation Sunshine and I have about the humanity that society could learn from unhoused homeless people. One of the reasons I LOVE homeless people so much is we have an extreme tolerance for others. For the most part, homeless people respect and extend grace to other people. This tolerance of others is not demonstrated in executive board rooms or even our Congress.
The reason Sunshine ended up homeless doesn’t matter as much as that; we must get people like her the help they need to re-stabilize. The longer Sunshine lives outside, the harder it will be to get her out of homelessness.
This is where we need your help to advocate to fix the affordable housing crisis and for most support services.
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.