LOS ANGELES – The Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count estimated in Jan. 2018, that 31,516 people are homeless in this city which is “home to the largest unsheltered population in the country.”
“It’s mind-boggling to imagine life without food and shelter, especially on cold and rainy days and nights, and without health care, among other needs,” says the Philippine Nurses Association of Southern California’s West LA Sub-chapter president Vicky Perez De Leon. “To make a difference in the lives of the homeless in Los Angeles,” she continued, “we spearheaded, from November 2018 to January 8, a toiletries/hygiene kit drive.
“We asked for travel-sized hygiene products,” Vicky added. “We also asked cash donations to buy the toiletries and we were overwhelmed at the generous support we received. Helping us with this project are PNASC president Reggie Valerio, and president-elect Roland Santos; our Sub-chapter’s president-elect Catherine Rubio, and board members Marietta H. Salcedo and Shirley Sabarre.”
On December 11, 2018, PNASC presented Movie Night for a Cause at the Burbank, Calif., AMC Theater featuring “Three Words to Forever” directed by Cathy Garcia Molina. The cast includes Richard Gomez, Sharon Cuneta, Kathryn Bernardo, Liza Lorena and Freddie Webb.
“Moviegoers generously donated cash and checks amounting to close to $900,” reported Vicky.
On January 13, PNASC and its West LA Sub-chapter, assisted by 25 volunteers, distributed some 300 packages at the Los Angeles Mission homeless shelter coordinated by Ralph Sutton, who mentioned that the “LA Mission is on the front lines of providing meals, hot showers, safe shelter and other life-giving support to people in need. The Mission exists to provide help, hope and opportunity to men, women, and children in need.”
Many factors can contribute to a person becoming homeless, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless, including, but not limited to lack of affordable housing, lack of health care, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, poverty, and job loss. The Coalition also reports that one-third of the homeless are children; 50 percent are women and children fleeing domestic violence; and 25 percent are employed.
There are more people becoming homeless for the first time now than any time in Los Angeles’ history: 53,195 people in Los Angeles County are experiencing homelessness, and 3 out of 4 of them remain unsheltered. Nationally, of the 1.5 million homeless people, 23 percent or 345,000 are veterans.
It is interesting to note, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study that, “many become addicts after becoming homeless, not before.”
If you would like to help the Philippine Nurses Association of Southern California, you may contact Vicky De Leon (818) 648-3493 or Reggie Valerio (310) 880-7341.