Homelessness
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Down-and-out by the river

Homelessness | While homeless campsites along the Santa Ana send Orange County officials scrambling for solutions, some ministries look for change in campers’ hearts
by Sophia Lee
Posted 5/24/18, 06:24 am

Every morning, Brian Kelly woke up along the Santa Ana River with one thought in his mind: Where to get his next meth fix? He would walk and walk along the river trail, wandering from city to city, tent to tent, looking for the next “friend” who would invite him into his tent to P&P (“party and play”)—street lingo for getting high and trading sex.

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Sophia Lee

Thursdays on the boardwalk

Homelessness | Am I wasting my time passing out free burritos to the homeless?
by Sophia Lee
Posted 5/21/18, 04:50 pm

Ever since I began reporting on homelessness, I’ve been going to the Venice Beach Boardwalk almost every Thursday evening to volunteer for a nonprofit that passes out burritos to the homeless.

I thought volunteering would be a good way to stay in touch with the homeless realm—not just from interviews with nonprofit CEOs and government officials, but from people actually on the streets who are still fighting their vices or hustling to beat the system, people who have become hopeless and live each day for no better reason than that their hearts are still beating.

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Sophia Lee

Cleaning soiled streets

Homelessness | What even the most unappealing of jobs can teach about human dignity
by Sophia Lee
Posted 4/24/18, 11:11 am

It was bright and early in the morning when I spotted a fresh pile of excrement on the sidewalk, still glistening in a reddish brown splat, its stench alerting a gang of flies that it was time for breakfast. Meanwhile, I could feel my own half-digested breakfast tossing from my gut up to my gullet. 

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