Homelessness
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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Gregory Bull/AP

Havens for the homeless

Homelessness | ‘Bridge shelters’ and legal homeless encampments are the latest experiments in dealing with a growing homelessness crisis
by Sophia Lee
Posted 4/12/18, 02:25 pm

Who knew a tiny virus could help provoke an overhaul of a city’s homeless policy? Yet that’s what happened last year in San Diego.

At first, doctors in the city were seeing a trickle of patients with seemingly minor complaints: abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue. But other symptoms—jaundiced eyes, sickly yellow skin, dark urine—suggested something more serious, something highly contagious.

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