Homeless Awareness and Aid in Los Angeles County
Homelessness is on the rise in Los Angeles County. And advocates for those people living without a home are taking part in events to help this community.
The Pasadena Union Station Homeless Services teamed up with a local middle school today to raise funds for homeless awareness.
In South El Monte, The Vet Hunters Project and the SGV Veterans Employment Committee is hosting “Heroes in the Shadows,” a three-day event that offers homeless vets free dental, medical, hygiene and counseling services at Whittier Narrows Recreation Park.
According to HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Homelessness in America has declined by 6%. However, homelessness in LA County increased by 15% from 2011 to 2013.
In Pasadena, the Union Station Homeless Services is hosting middle school students for a “Camp Out to Stamp Out Homelessness.” The fundraiser will be held at Polytechnic Middle School, where students will engage in a late night stay to feel what homelessness is like.
Organizer Dana Bean, program developer of Union Station Homeless Services, explains the camp out.
The students will take part in a game simulating surviving on a homeless budget, a screening of the documentary Here At Home, as well as a visit from a former teenage transient, who will share his story of living on the streets at their age.
The sponsored students raised nearly $4,000 in contributions, which will go toward homeless shelter and housing programs.
Meanwhile in South El Monte, The Vet Hunters Project and the San Gabriel Valley Veterans Employment Committee began a three day assistance project in Whittier Narrows Recreation Park. The annual event offers assistance to some 600 to 800 homeless residents.
The event is sponsored mostly by private donations. Homeless veterans and those in need will receive food, clothes, haircuts, showers, dental work, vision and medical assistance, legal and psychological counseling free of charge.
Joe Leal, founder and CEO of the Vet Hunters Project, is a former veteran himself.
According to the Los Angeles Almanac, an estimated 20% of all current homeless people within Los Angeles County are veterans.
Leal explains the reasons for this troubling statistic.
The Vet Hunters Project utilizes a search and rescue method to search for homeless veterans by going into the shadows. Teams walk into alleys and freeway underpasses as well as canyons and brush areas off busy highways.