Finding a home after 30 years on the streets
Roger Anderson has spent the last three decades without a home after running away from an abusive father at the age of 13. But right before Thanksgiving, at the age of 47, Anderson gained something more than worthy of holiday gratitude: A place to call his own.
Look through a photo essay of Anderson’s last night of homelessness, and his first moments in his new apartment over at Framework.
Photos: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
A homeless veteran’s stunning transformation
Find out the story behind the heartwarming video over at Share It Now.
Safeguarding the possessions of the homeless
The Central City East Assn. has served as a storage center for Los Angeles’ homeless since 2002, with 1,100 bins set up to provide those most down on their luck with free means to preserve their belongings.
So how does the system work?
Abandoned items are bagged, tagged and dragged to a fenced storage area in the back. They are held for 90 days. Then they disappear into a landfill.
In the tall metal shelves that hold unclaimed belongings, hints of past lives peek through the plastic bags like puzzle pieces — romance novels, new Barbie Princess sets, strings of pearls, blocky old computers and a cardboard advent calendar, the chocolate crumbling inside.
Leading the project is Peggy Washington, whose former homelessness informs her hard, but mailable line with those who come to the center. She gives individuals leeway in their storage needs, and works for the joy of seeing someone pick up the pieces are successfully move on.
But all too often, she ends up depositing unclaimed items into that aforementioned landfill.
Read more in our latest Column One feature.
Photos: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times
Handing out Abercrombie clothes to shame a self-absorbed brand
Recent USC graduate Greg Karper, along with a friend, has taken to the street of Los Angeles to voice his disgust with comments from Abercrombie Chief Executive Michael S. Jeffries that have recently resurfaced.
“Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
To counter that “exclusionary” bend, Karper has purchased bundles of used Abercrombie clothes to hand out to the homeless of L.A., and is hoping that more people will do the same.
Costa Mesa mayor seeks to ‘put the soup kitchen out of business’: Costa Mesa’s Eric Bever calls charities that serve the homeless nuisances; people whose groups have worked in the city for decades say he’s misinformed.
Photo: Staff members from the IKEA store in Costa Mesa pour and distribute free cups of coffee to the homeless. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
In Venice, a battle over the boardwalk: An LAPD crackdown on encampments and renegade vendors is pitting longtime residents and merchants against homeless advocates and younger transients. Many Venetians have complained that the boardwalk has become an increasingly lawless, frightening place.
Photo: LAPD Sgt. Dan Gonzalez tells a group of men on Ocean Front Walk in Venice on a recent night to pack up their belongings and move off the sidewalk. Dozens of transients have migrated farther inland to an encampment at 3rd and Rose avenues, near Google’s offices. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
A city initiative had helped to reduce the numbers and clean up the sidewalks, but the weak economy and other factors have reversed the trend.
"Pirate man" recalled as neighborhood character: Homeless victim Paulus Smit liked the freedom of the streets, a scavenger who called dumpsters “the gettin’ place.” Despite his appearance, neighbors, friends and children remember him warmly.
Photo: A small memorial for Paulus Smit has been set up outside the downtown Yorba Linda library. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times
Fourth O.C. transient slain: The man is found dead behind an Anaheim fast-food spot. Police detain a suspect who was chased by bystanders.
Photo: A woman and her child sit on the corner of La Palma Avenue and Imperial Highway in Anaheim after a homeless man was found slain behind a nearby fast-food restaurant. Police cordoned off the area and didn’t allow people to leave during the search. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times
As bulldozers near, homeless ministry hangs on: Fresno officials are adamant that the area containing Ray Polk’s makeshift homeless sanctuary be cleared for development. But he doesn’t see it as a done deal. In fact, he’s busy decorating for Christmas.
We first wrote about Ray Polk, a homeless one-man social agency, in March.
Photo: Ray Polk eats an apple at the makeshift homeless sanctuary he runs in Fresno. Credit: Tomas Ovalle, For The Times
Formerly homeless, they know whereof they speak: Residents of apartments operated by the Skid Row Housing Trust studied storytelling, learned public speaking — all with the aim of sharing what it’s really like to be living on the street.
Theresa Winkler said she got back 11 years when she found her way off the streets. She’d been on her own since she was 12 — a prostitute and an addict. She was living in a bush without money to buy a cigarette when she decided she might as well head downtown.
She found the Skid Row Housing Trust, which began to find her help — starting with locating her birth records. She’d thought she was 53. The records showed she was 42.
Photo: Residents of the Skid Row Housing Trust share their stories of hardship and homelessness before an audience at the Last Bookstore at 5th and Spring streets in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times
A scenic win-win in the hills above Studio City: Neighbors pitch in to pay a homeless man to clear away the trash along Coldwater Canyon roads.
Photo: Jackie Hunsicker leaves a large message for the person who dumped a mattress in her No Litter Zone. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times
More women falling into ranks of homeless veterans: The number of homeless female vets has risen sharply during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though they didn’t have direct combat roles, they suffer many of the stresses that plague male vets — often while trying to raise children alone.
Photo: Ruth Donaldson with her son, Dante, at Jubilee House, a private shelter for homeless female veterans in Fayetteville, N.C. Credit: David Zucchino / Los Angeles Times
Occupational hazard: Where’s the toilet? Occupy L.A. protesters and those at demonstrations like it are finding out what homeless people in the U.S. have long known — sometimes it’s difficult to relieve yourself without committing a crime.
Still, what occupiers from all walks of life are discovering, at least every time they contemplate taking a leak, is that to be homeless in America is to live like a fugitive. The destitute are our own native-born “illegals,” facing prohibitions on the most basic activities of survival. And because many of the occupiers are looking at walks of life that slope downward — from debt, joblessness and foreclosure — they are getting a frightening view of what their futures could hold.
Photo: Demonstrators with “Occupy Wall Street” continue their protest at Zuccotti Park in New York on Oct. 21. The encampment in the financial district of New York City is now in its second month. Credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images