LOS ANGELES, CA — When we talk about homelessness in Los Angeles on Skid Row, we’re talking about 60 % of the individuals being of African American descent. For the last several years there has been an increase of women on Skid Row, an increase of women and children. You have a unique dynamic, with literally many different nationalities who live in this 50 sq. block, this quadrant of homelessness, which is Skid Row.
There’s never been a clear articulation or a comprehensive strategy to address homelessness, because there’s never been someone that said “You know that this person is a human being as well as I.” And when I say “I” I mean individuals who are really in a position to end homelessness. If they truly had the heart to do so, their hearts would be in concert with ideas that would address these issues in a substantive way.
So, when I talk about homelessness I could talk about all the things that generally get talked about, the political and the moral issues. I want to get involved with calling people out about what’s in their heart. So I’m talking about heartlessness as well as homelessness. They intersect, that’s the dynamic that is often not talked about. How can I see my brother or my sister or any individual in a position where they need help and refuse to give it?
I would love to see a paradigm shift in this conversation. The language that is always used is the cookie cutter approach. Let’s look beyond the surface language and delve deeper and question people’s hearts when it comes to another human being. I think we need to pivot in terms of the language we use to talk about homeless individuals.
I’ve seen homelessness grow exponentially in Skid Row and in this state and country.
We do a great disservice when we just talk about housing. We were talking about those issues 20 years ago. We fail to talk about the heart of individuals who are in positions to create change.
Who’s behind the thinking of the things we’ve been discussing for many years? Oftentimes those who are opposed to finding a solution to a problem are the ones who manipulate the thinking, in view for all to see. They use talking points that for all intents and purposes maintain the status quo but do not get to the essence of the problem, which is humanity. This is a very serious problem that has not been addressed.
What should exist in talking points, what is foundational, is what we can build upon. We have to put in real work to utilize some critical thinking about the paradigm shift that I believe needs to take place. How to get to point B so we can finally move to point C. Because my thing has always been there needs to be some other avenues that we need to go down.
Eddie resides on Skid Row in Los Angeles.