Stay close to me! said my mother. I was distracted by the clouds that had a nice shade of salmon and peach mixed up on the evening sky and when I turned to face the west the sky was sort of turning into a dull greenish gray among the apparent pollution rising up from the tall buildings of Downtown, Los Angeles. My mom and I walked away from our car and into the pungent smell of weed, tobacco, urine, and gasoline. The ambulance seemed to be rushing back and forth between the same block, it had already gone by around four times. I wanted to interview a homeless transgender woman, but my mother opposed due to her religious values and I was disappointed that I had to walk the other way.
The majority of the homeless on the streets of Skid Row that I could see were minorities, they were either Black or Latinx/Hispanics, I would say about one-fourth of the crowd was Caucasian. As we approached the Downtown Woman’s Center we saw more and more tents that were either able to stand on their own, lopsided or were made out of blankets and tarps. In front of the Downtown Woman’s Center, I saw lady passing out big boxes of pads and tampons for women, as they are aware that these women are not able to afford the necessary feminine care items needed. Some of the shelters such as the Union Rescue Mission were remolded into a bright modern architecture with bright colors such as green, white, and purple. Although most of the shelters looked a bit old, similar to the Downtown Woman’s Center, which was a tall building that had a fire escape at the back and was mostly a dirty but friendly color of Beige painted on top of the old red bricks, with the front of the building having turquoise tinted windows. Once we reached the front of the shelter’s building a big argument between two women over an unidentified box began to violently arise, at that moment I was reminded of the stereotypes that are pit against the homeless.
There tend to be many stereotypes amongst the public that homeless people are lazy, violent, thieves, drug addicts and that there is no hope for them. These stereotypes are about the estimated that 3.5 million Americans [that] experience homelessness per year(NCH, 2009). These stereotypes only share half of the true story and the scary thing about these stereotypes is they do not inform of the immense hardship that these people have to live through every day, nor do they explain how we will get rid of this worldwide phenomenon. The occurrence of homelessness is extremely high in what is considered a first World country, the National Coalition for the Homeless maintains that 17% are single women, and 30% are families with Children. (NCH,2009). The National Center for Homeless Families has stated the U.S. has the highest rate for homeless women, children, and families.
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