Wednesday, October 3, 2007

An Adventurous Day

I woke up this morning, and read some more Shockwave Rider. Got on my bike with some of the recycling I had been collecting and road off down Alameda Street. While on the bike in traffic, a homeless woman wondered around me and other cars asking for change. She would' t talk to me when I asked here where she was from. Road towards 6th on my way to the recycling center and met a homeless man just siting on the curb. He was from Massachusetts. He asked if I had change and I gave him my bag of cans. I thought it was fair. That would have been the change I gave him if I had turned it in. Right?

I then made my way down old skid row. (DUM DUM DAH) Note: this is all during the day time. even the homeless said don't go there at night.
I first go to the Midnight Mission.

I make some new friends while I walk inside the gate. There are just people spread out everywhere on benches and bags. I brought my bike in and then some woman who had a badge on and white shirt started to yell at me. She asked what I was doing there and why and I can't bring a bike on to the patio. She directed me to talk to a person inside who bounced me to another who bounced me to another. All I got after that was a card of someones who I need their permission to ask the people where they've been since they strive for an anonymous environment. The shelter is a point of sanctuary. I move on.
Alot of people also sleep in the adjacent park. I noticed more families there. The next mission was between 5th and 4th on San Pedro. No court yard. This one seemed more like a hospital. I went in and talked to a guard who told me to wait for one of the directors and then ultimately the director said no questions for these people. Ok.

I then head to the LA Mission. On the way I found a bread tab so I thought everything will probably work out with me asking. I ride up. Park the bike. And go in the gates. This one was the most relaxed than the others. They let me talk to the people but not the ones who were taking classes at that time. I asked the main supervisor if he knew anything about people being bussed in from different cities, specifically New Orleans after Katrina. He said it was news to him.

Here are the results of my efforts, as from what people told me:
  • 2Massachuesetts
    • 1 Boston
  • 1 Iowa
  • 1 Rhode Island
  • 1 Washington State
  • 3 Texas
    • 1 Houston
    • 1 Beaumont
  • 1 Guatemala
  • 1 Chicago, Illinois
  • 1 Ohio, Massillion
  • 16 Los Angeles,
    • 1 Compton, LA
  • 7 Mexico
    • 3 Vera Cruz, Mexico
  • 1 New Jersey
    • 1 Fort Dixon, New Jersey
  • 1 Pittsburgh
  • 1 San Diego
  • 1 Puerto Rico
  • 3 Detroit
  • 1 New York City
  • 1 Rochester, New York
  • 1 Peru
  • 1 Washington DC
  • 1 Las Vegas
  • 1 Honduras
  • 1 St. Petersburg, Florida
  • 1 Philadelphia
  • 19 New Orleans, Louisiana, who all got bussed after Katrina
  • 1 from outer space

All this information has been mapped on the Homeless map that is on the right side of this blog.

I ended up talking to a guard named Renard for a bit. He has been working security for the mission for the past 15 years. He said he was working on a movie about Skid Row, not a documentary. He said not everyone who is at the shelter is homeless. He said people come down there to hang out, smoke up in the yard, buy crack at the corner, run away from domestic situations, or just stay there if they don't want to go home. He said it is a place where people run away from responsibility. Another Other Space if you will. This is also similar to the paid avoidance places in Shockwave Rider, but these places are free. Free food. Free Clothing. Free Shelter.

I met another man walking around, nicely dressed with a manila folder. He said he was a economist. He thought I was studying sociology. The guard asked me if I was a social worker, when I said architect he asked me to draw something. The manila folder man also confirmed that during the winter months other cities bus there homeless to LA so they don't have to house them. Tons from NYC, Philly and what not. So come November, we will see an influx of the homeless population in Downtown LA.

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