How much do you know about homelessness in Los Angeles?
Fact: Approximately 53,000 men, women and children experience homelessness in Los Angeles on any given night. Youth, runaways without adult supervision, especially in the Hollywood area, are estimated to make up from 4,800 to 10,000 of these. I happen to live in Hollywood and can attest to the staggering numbers of teens roaming the streets at night.
Fact: An estimated 20% are physically disabled and 25% are mentally ill. The average age is 40 - women tend to be younger. As children, 27% lived in foster care or group homes; 25% were physically or sexually abused; and many individuals have substance abuse issues. Whether or not they have roofs over their heads, where they sleep, or what the circumstances might be, these individuals call Los Angeles their home just like the rest of us. They are citizens of the City of Angels.
Many great shelters and charitable organizations have been established to help the unfortunate; one of them is the historic Los Angeles Mission.
Founded in 1936 by Reverend I.L. Eldridge, the Los Angeles Mission is a non-profit, privately supported, faith-based organization that serves the immediate and long-term needs of the homeless and disadvantaged. The Mission is among the nation’s largest service providers to the homeless.
The current 156,000-square-foot facility, located at 303 East 5th Street, opened on January 21, 1992, and has been successful through the efforts of great leaders who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of helping the homeless. Currently the vision of the Los Angeles Mission is upheld and led by Herbert Smith, President/CEO.
The Mission’s Vision Statement:
“We see each individual as a spiritual person of worth and dignity and worthy of assistance in their journey. Our vision is to see individuals and families set free from addictions and homelessness, transformed by God to become physically and spiritually healthy; educationally equipped to participate in society and sustain housing; and encouraged to create relationships of love and service to others. We seek to help those who have been abused and neglected to find a better life. We seek to help those who have become addicted to understand their addictions, to expect physical healing and to live in ways that are healthy to soul, mind and body.”
How can we help?
A great opportunity for you and your group is to sponsor meals for the hungry; or you can choose to give a monthly monetary gift to the Los Angeles Mission and help to continuously meet the needs of the hungry, hurting and homeless. You can get involved in many of their outstanding programs and/or volunteer opportunities. You can host an event, or give in-kind gifts like hygiene products and other necessary items listed on their website. No matter the size of your donation, no matter what volunteer option you choose, it will make a difference in the lives of many men, women and children on Skid Row.
I particularly was drawn to the section that was asking for hygiene products and clean undergarments and decided to put my money where my mouth was. Every day the homeless come to the mission for a shower and clean clothing. They do not have access to hygiene products and toiletries unless the mission supplies them. For this reason a constant and abundant supply of these products are required. Without the help of the people, us, the mission has to purchase these products; and purchasing equals the need of monetary contributions.
Location: Los Angeles Mission, 303 East 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone: (213) 629-1227