Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Moved post from Homeless in Long Beach.

I no longer have internet access 24/7 but will answer some of your questions today and get back to you on others.
Thanks for your interest
On Sun, Dec 14, 2008 at 2:05 PM, Jeffrey wrote:
Jeffrey has left a new comment on your post "War Zone":

My name is Jeff Hensiek and I am doing a research paper on homelessness for a final paper at California State Long Beach. I have been looking into various homeless shelters and homeless aid organizations to try and get more information on the topic.I was wondering if you would be able to send any statistics there might be through the organizations you affiliate with that could provide me with important information regarding the current homeless situation in Long Beach and the Los Angeles area.I would also appreciate if you could answer a few questions:

1. How has the current economic crisis effected homelessness statistics and shelters?

Food banks and other places that provide meals for the homeless, such as the Salvation Army are facing empty pantry's due to an increased demand. All persons who use those services are not homeless.

2. What health concerns are directly related to homelessness?

Homeless persons are suspectible to TB. Gum disease and tooth problems become common. Insect bites often cause reactions, being bitten by a poisonous spider sends some homeless to the emergency room. It takes much longer to recover from simple colds. The body's immune system is rundown.

3. What other safety concerns relate directly to homelessness?

Rape and being physically abused is a constant safety concern. Homeless are often robbed, sometimes by their homeless peers. There are many mentally ill people on the streets, who can snap and become dangerous to those around them.

4. In what ways are organizations working to alleviate or "fix" the homeless crisis?

Several years ago GWB provided funding to any city that would come up with a 10 year plan to end homelessness. Many Long Beach organizations work in conjunction with the city council on coming up with solutions. Joel Roberts who writes the L.A. Blog, has recently been working with Long Beach and his PATH organization to target the 10 neediest homeless people at Lincoln Park to be put in an apartment.

I was helped by the Village, MHA which started a Safe Haven program. The program takes up to 25 people off the streets into apartments helping them get needed health care and job training as need be.

I am not familiar with the new program at the Multi-Service Center.

The Long Beach Rescue Mission provides meals, shelter and other help.

There are links on my sidebar to various Long Beach programs and churches that provide meals, clothes and other assistance.

5. Do homeless shelters provide long-term answers, or are they a temporary solution?
I do not think homeless shelters provide long-term answers. When I was on the streets I was sent on a bus to a year round shelter in Los Angeles. I know some homeless were helped having a shelter like that (and in Long Beach, the Resuce Mission). There are homeless people who work while living on the streets, but basically in order to find and keep a job, people do need shelter first. Yet there are reasons people become homeless and if those issues are not solved (some have no solution) shelter alone is not a long-term solution.

6. Why is it so difficult for the homeless community to integrate themselves back into mainstream society?

I will think about this question. I do not know that it is true that members of the homeless community have trouble integrating with mainstream society.

7. What legal issues often affect the homeless?

As soon as someone becomes homeless they become an instant criminal. Not all homeless people have legal issues. I only got one ticket during my time on the streets. A certain number of homeless have legal issues due to criminal behavior; many newly released from jail have no place to go, but the streets. Public drunkeness is a common legal issue, and use of illegal drugs can cause problems as well as shoplifting.

8. Do people affected by homelessness end up in the prison system very often, if so, how do they ever remove themselves from that cycle?

I am not sure how many people became homeless having been caught up in the prison system prior to street living. I did meet some young men that were street kids, abandoned by parents or fleeing an abusive home. They usually get caught up in criminal behavior and get caught up in the system. Many are able to break the cycle, usually with the help of a church or other Social Service organiztion. Some homeless do not mind getting arrested, going to jail, again, seeing it as a place to get clean and sober, a roof and meals.

Homeless people get tickets for "camping" or other minor things like jaywalking. Just before an event like the Grand Prix, the police do a sweep picking up those who have outstanding tickets. They are kept in jail until after the event, credited with "time served" the fine waived and the process starts all over again.

I do have more questions I would like to ask, but if I could get the answers to those it would be greatly appreciated. Any answers and/or statistics I receive will be cited both in the paper and the bibliography. So if you could reply with either your name or the name of the organization and a phone number that would be greatly appreciated.Thank you for your time during this very busy holiday season!- Jeffrey Hensiek

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