By: Angela Acosta, Abigail Jimenez, & Anabel Ocampo
There are 58,000 homeless people in all areas of Los Angeles. You see them in small tents, benches on the side of the street, or under freeways, regardless of weather conditions. They struggle to survive with no clothes, food, money, or support. There are many people who stare and do nothing, despite feeling pity for them. However, there are also people who decide to help by donating clothes, giving away food, or giving them money to buy things they need. Although we like to believe that there are services and volunteers who help the homeless, the 16,000 homeless shelters in Los Angeles are not enough to help them all. But the real question is: how many people are really helping the homeless? We decided to survey students about their willingness to help those in need.
Andres Villalobos gives to the homeless and believes that helping them is important, especially when they are veterans. He said, “when I have 10 dollars in my pocket, I usually give it to them or I just go into the nearby store and buy them food.” He believes it is sad that there are people that are veterans –served their country– and are rewarded with homelessness.
On the other hand, there are some who think differently of homeless people and believe they simply do not deserve a helpful gesture. Sophomore Joseph Perez said he does not donate to the homeless because he does not carry enough money with him. When asked how far he was willing to go to help a homeless person, he responded by saying “Not that far…honestly.” If he was to be put in the same shoes as a homeless person, he would simply “Get a job.” His personal opinion towards homeless people is that, “It’s 50/50 for the homeless people who just do drugs. [You shouldn’t] help them… But the people who actually can’t work [because of a disability], I think they deserve a chance.”
Similarly, junior David Barreras said, “It sad seeing them but like at the same time I don’t because there is a reason why they got to that place.”
Some, though, were willing to go far as starting their own business to help them. Freshman Ashley Rivero said, “Well when I grow up I want to start my own business and give them shelters — not like nasty shelters, but [shelters] with their own beds and shared rooms and good food.” She feels sorry for them and when she sees them, she has the urge to help them”
David believes that students should be more involved by building programs to work together and help those in need. He says he does not really help the homeless, though, because he rarely ever sees one. If he did, however, he said “I would just give them food or blankets… I would start looking for opportunities or I would just get a job… You can make like programs like after school so we could gather up kids and then you could go on to Downtown… so all the kids that are in that program can give them stuff that they need.” David believes that the issue of the increasing homeless population can be solved if everyone worked towards achieving a solution. David said “they all deserve not to be homeless.”
Not only do students believe that helping is important, teachers do as well. “I use to help in a soup kitchen to help feed the homeless” said 11th grade Chemistry teacher Ms. Roselman. She said she is willing to volunteer to help at a shelter for the homeless. “If I was a homeless person,” she said, “I would try to get those remedy services of having a government funded bed at a shelter.. I don’t think you have a choice of what is available to you and everything is kinda full so you just have to survive.” Ms. Roselman believes that many of the homeless do not deserve their current situation. She described one occasion saying, “I was able to talk to homeless people in downtown who were very social. Some of them were part of families who could not take care of them anymore or went through financial stress and couldn’t afford any kind of housing.” In the end, Ms. Roselman agrees that it is very sad and heart wrenching to have such a great number of homeless in Los Angeles and across the country.
Overall, students believe that helping the homeless is a good way to give back to people because not everyone deserves to be in that situation and people would expect the same gesture back if they were in their shoes. In the end, coming together to help the homeless can bring joy to their lives.