Last weekend, while strolling back home from our neighborhood gym, my husband and I noticed a young lady lying on a patch of dirt with her pillow and blanket. Within her 30 yard radius were endless white beaches, lush floral landscapes, and charmingly delectable restaurants in the seaside resort city of Laguna Beach. However she chose the one patch of dirt, among this picturesque kaleidoscope of sun, sand and sea, to rest her head.
When we engaged her in conversation, our neighbor’s first reaction was “Don’t get too close to her. You’ll catch COVID!” But as we offered her support, she warmed up to us and we discovered a lovely, yet very frightened young lady, who had been in a shelter earlier that morning. She had been assaulted, and found her way to this specific patch of dirt. Therefore, we offered her food, cash and supplies, and engaged the support of the Laguna Beach Police Department (true heroes!) to report the assault, and Friendship Emergency Shelter (true godsends!) to ensure her shelter and safety.
Although I empathize with people’s fear and trepidation with lending help to a stranger (believe you me, there were many times I whizzed by a homeless person on my way to work in NYC), what’s the point of life if not to help our fellow man and woman? So, a few facts for your consideration.
State of Homelessness in California
According to the Homelessness Policy Research Institute:
- 27% of people experiencing homelessness in the entire United States are in California.
- Homelessness in California increased by more than 22% over the last decade.
- In California, 72% of people experiencing homelessness are unsheltered, which is the highest share of unsheltered homelessness of any state.
- Nationwide, more than half of the people experiencing unsheltered homelessness reside in California.
- People experiencing unsheltered homelessness are far more likely to face health challenges, violence and trauma than people staying in shelters.
Hence, please consider supporting our homeless brothers and sisters, whether that be giving of your time or resources. Great Nonprofits is a great place to start!