Patricia Nell Warren

Adult, LGBT and Homeless? Few of Us Care

Filed By Patricia Nell Warren | November 29, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Gay Lesbian Elder Housing, homeless gay men with AIDS, LGBT homeless, LGBT homeless adults, Los Angeles Homeless Authority, SAGE, Skid Row, transgender homeless

For now, I'll call him Detlow. His name could be Bob, Rick or Steve. The point is, he's openly gay, middle aged, a talented writer with his first publication credits. But after a period of chronic unemployment, he was evicted from his apartment and went homeless as of a month ago. The Old Man Of WakefieldThis happened in Los Angeles County, now called "the homeless capital of the U.S." Here Detlow joined some 50,000 other souls on the city's heartless streets.

Because of its big LGBT population, L.A. County is surely "the LGBT homeless capital" as well. And not just because thousands of LGBT youth wind up there. On Thanksgiving, as the rest of us dined on roast turkey and rich desserts, 5000 + - LGBT adult homeless Angelenos were lining up for free hot meals, or dumpster-diving in alleys behind the crowded restaurants.

Detlow's friends found out about his deadly deadline just two weeks before his eviction. He hadn't wanted to expose his situation to others, but finally he emailed us a desperate red alert. He'd already figured out that friends were his sole resource. In a city so rich with LGBT institutions - including help for homeless youth up to age 23-24 - he had noticed that there is little help for these kids' older homeless sisters and brothers, including himself.

Worse -- being ignored by his own kind could happen to Detlow in most American cities. Most of our so-called "community" doesn't give much of a hoot about our adult homeless -- even though the recession is now pushing their numbers upwards. As I search online under "LGBT homeless," almost every link that comes up is for "youth."

Yet we have our own unique homeless history. Starting in the 1980s, the high cost of having AIDS bankrupted many low-income gay and bi men; those who didn't die were often hurled onto the street. Transgender and intersex people suffer their own high rate of homelessness.

But two years ago, after Wall Street went into meltdown, our homeless rate had to be picking up speed. American neighborhoods are now raddled by foreclosures and bankruptcies. Among the thousands of low- and middle-income individuals and families, whether renters or homeowners, there are an unknown number of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people who suddenly find that they have nowhere to live.

While statistics aren't available, I suspect that many of the just-over-24 LGBT homeless are students who are chewed up by job scarcity and debt. Older LGBT workers like Detlow are hard hit by workplace downsizing. With replacement jobs so scarce, the slippery slope leads down to living in your car. When your car is finally towed, you're afoot with your backpack.

Yes, there are shelters and other services. But many are offered by churches, and these have strings attached: you have to let yourself be proselytized. So many homeless LGBTs opt to shun these resources and stay out in the cold. There, if sexual orientation is at all detectable, they're at higher risk -- becoming targets of violent crimes that are more and more aimed at homeless people.

Over the last several years, I can't help noticing that the number of people I know personally who have been homeless, or perilously close to it, is inching ominously upwards.

"You'll Have to Stab Me"

Before the eviction date, Detlow's friends, including myself, tried to help him nail a spare room, a sofa situation or house-sitting job. But the city is so full of people looking for makeshift housing, that sofas and other marginal opportunities are in short supply. Some enterprising apartment dwellers will charge you $500 a month just to sleep on their couch.

For the moment, the best I could do was give Detlow a little money, and find a temporary home for his beloved cat. He was very worried about the cat. She already had her own street history -- he'd taken her in as a stray, and didn't want to dump her back on the sidewalk.

"I want to get her back when I can," he said.

On the last day, when Detlow unplugged his laptop, he gave it to a friend for safekeeping, so his unpublished writing wouldn't be lost. He was keeping a little tape recorder, so he could journal his days on the street. Maybe some publisher would be interested in a piece of "on-scene reporting" about being homeless. Since he'd had a little money, he paid some advance time on his cell phone, wanting to keep a lifeline as long as possible.

When Detlow left his apartment, a lesbian friend of mine met him on the corner to take the cat for delivery to a new home. As his pet meowed nervously in her carrier, he handed her over. Then he sat down on the curb and cried for about 15 minutes. My friend sat with him till he calmed down.

Finally his tall skinny figure, with head wrapped in his signature bandana, disappeared down the street.

As the days passed, Detlow stayed in touch with his peeps by cell phone. He was going through wild emotional swings -- sometimes choking up, sometimes grimly buoyant and determined to make it. Through it all, he managed to find public Internet access to check Craigslist, and got a couple of housecleaning jobs for food money.

Then, two-plus weeks into the street, Detlow called me in tears. He'd just had the first close encounter with that violence that homeless people face every day.

"I felt the knife point at the back of my neck," he said. "The guy wanted the little money I had. He also wanted my backpack, which I had strapped around my body. It had my cell phone and tape recorder and ID, and a few valuables. I couldn't lose that phone -- it's my lifeline. So I leaned against the knifepoint and told him, 'You'll have to stab me to get the backpack.'"

Detlow's inspired outburst worked. The mugger let him keep the backpack.

Giving It All Up

A week before Thanksgiving, a friend and I met Detlow at a coffee shop on Sunset Boulevard to discuss a possible housing opportunity. We bought him a warm meal, which he scarfed. He looked strained and skinnier than ever, but was still managing to keep up appearances. His shirt, pants and bandana were clean.

He shared his experiences of the initial two weeks at Skid Row downtown.

"Skid Row is where they get you ready for the street. The city homeless authority gives you 2 weeks there. The entrance is kinda Hollywooded up -- a fancy grillwork fence. But inside it's pretty grim. You get a room the size of a closet, and counseling. You've got two weeks to learn the ropes... what you're going to run into, how to stay safe. You tick off the days -- each day in that little room is precious. Ten days left, then 7, 6, 5... When zero day comes, they kick you out."

He added, "The people who've been out here for months, or years...I can see it in their eyes. They've had to give it all up. You give up it up by inches. Your humanity, your dignity. A little more every day. I already see it happening to me."

The battery on his tape recorder had run low, so he had scrounged some paper somewhere and was writing on that.

The possible housing situation didn't pan out. But a few nights later, Detlow called to say that his private network might finally come through for him. His voice sounded brighter. He'd connected with an old friend in Virginia who was offering him a plane ticket and a room for a while.

"Virginia!" I said.

"Yeah, Virginia. Goodbye L.A. The ticket is waiting for me at LAX. The trick is," he added, " I have no money, and I have to get to the airport by 6 a.m."

I offered to ask a friend to drive him to LAX.

"No need," he said. "I'll manage."

After two long days of radio silence, Detlow called me again. It was late in the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day.

"I'm in Virginia," he said. "We just had the big family dinner. They're putting me up in their guest cabin out in the woods. It's beautiful here." His voice was strong, but he sounded a little dazed. "The contrast between where I am now, and where I was last week -- well, I can't even describe it."

The friend was helping him job-hunt. Allegedly there are more jobs in Virginia than California. Meanwhile, he was back to writing about his experience. We made plans for re-uniting him with his cat when his situation stabilized.

Hiding the Homeless

Detlow's story ends well -- for now, at least. But for many, the nightmare goes on.

America is busy hiding some of its worst problems right now, and the population explosion of homeless people is one of the most pushed-out-of-sight. We've been busy trying to bury our homeless people ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when tens of thousands of low-income New Orleans refugees weren't allowed to return to their homes so their neighborhoods could be razed and redeveloped. They wound up in permanent FEMA camps.

Some American cities have been forced to create tent cities and other services for the homeless. However, many cities still make every effort to sweep homeless people out of sight - to slash services, to bar church groups from feeding them, to make it illegal to be anywhere or do anything that street people have to do. This way, they can be arrested for their "crimes" and thrown into our already crammed jails. In Vegas, it's six months in jail for sleeping in your car. In Hawaii, city legislators are actually proposing six months in jail as punishment for having a strong body odor on public transportation.

Republican candidates are talking about more FEMA camps - about turning "unused" prison facilities into holding pens for homeless people.

Sad to say, our own "community" is just as prone to hide its homeless. My search for organizations who care has turned up a few. Examples: In L.A., Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH) offers 104 units of affordable housing for low-income seniors. Thirty-four percent of the apartments go to people who have HIV/AIDS or are either homeless or in danger of going homeless. In Palm Springs, the Golden Rainbow Senior Center offers weekly food distribution to homeless LGBT seniors. The national organization SAGE states a concern for our senior homeless.

But these organizations seem to be isolated points of light in an otherwise dark landscape of apparent unconcern. Homelessness is one of those things that most people never think about till it happens to them.

So I asked an old friend, a Latina lesbian teacher, if I was missing something. She had spent several years working with an L.A. organization that helps homeless families. Did she know of more organizations that care about adult LGBT homeless people? She emailed back, saying, "I am sorry to say I don't know of any. What happened to caring for those who allowed us to be here?"

My Latina friend mentioned her own woes with foreclosure -- she had been proud of her small home bought with a loan gotten through the teachers' union. "My house goes up for auction on the 29th," she said, "and CalHFA has done nothing to help me stay in it. All these programs our taxes go to fund, and I still am on the outside looking in."

My teacher friend is lucky. Her family will take her in.

We LGBT citizens have been very quick to call ourselves a "community." True, the big effort we made for people with AIDS was (and is) important. We belatedly started caring about our youth. But those efforts aren't enough. The LGBT world still doesn't do enough for other needy groups -- its transgender and intersex people, its elders, its disabled, its mentally ill, for example. Above all, there is a sickening political dismissiveness about those economic threats that are surely affecting many of us. The threats are not viewed as "LGBT issues." Yet that nationwide landslide of foreclosure and unemployment is surely sweeping away a whole slope of LGBT lives along with the larger mountainside of non-gay lives.

For a growing number of us, the right to marry or serve in uniform is looking less important than the right to a home, a job and enough to eat. We won't become a real "community" till we get those priorities clear.

Photo via rofanator on Flickr.


Further reading:

As I hear about them, I will list below any additional organizations, local or national, that have resources for LGBT adult homeless people.

H.O.W. . Located in Phoenix, AZ. Among H.O.W.'s programs is The Residence, which offers living facilities to some trans homeless people.

Maetreum of Cybele in Catskill, NY. The organization describes itself as focused on women in need, including they are lesbian-friendly and transsexual-woman-inclusive. Emergency housing is available.


Recent Entries Filed under The Movement:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


Angela Brightfeather | November 29, 2010 8:55 AM

...And the beat goes on. But now, even stronger as more and more post-war people are added to the ranks of those who simply need some serious help. The numbers won't go down for at least the next 23 years. That is the time differential between being born at the end of WWII (1945) and the legalization of birth control, when the population stopped growing, giving everyone a short breather.

Thanks for this, Patricia.

More than you know.

I guess that in the civil rights struggle that we are engaged in, it is sometimes forgotten that in many ways, LGBT's are integrated in many (if not most) ways within the larger society and that it is quite natural that we would have many of the same problems.

I can think of one that addresses homelessness in trans people (and would be remiss if I didn't bring it up).

That one is This Is H.O.W. (www.thisishow.org). Among the programs that it runs is The Residence, which offers some trans homeless people living facilities and struggles every day.

I know it because I went through it, I was the house manager for it, I was the Chair of the board for it, and I am currently the Executive Director for it-- at various times over the last several years.

As a 501(c)3 organization, it is also supported entirely by small dollar donations offered by individuals. There are no large grants or major funding efforts for such, and if you think discrimination is bad in general, try getting the largish dollar amounts (5K, 10K) that literally make the difference.

There are dozens of orgs that look to the future and help the children, but the one's looking to the present that help people in the hardest of circumstances are few and far between.

So, thank you for taking the time to highlight this problem. I've wanted to, but there's a slight conflict of interest involved, lol

Antonio, thanks so much for mentioning H.O.W. I'll add it in the list at the bottom.

Arrggh...please forgive the typo, Antonia.

lol I'm getting used to it. I blame a Spanish actor, lol

But truly, the need for funding for *any* group that deals with adults is enormous. Adults don't engender sympathy and don't trigger the parenting instinct that is so heavily relied on in getting funding for youth programs (which need the funding as well).

Adults are told its their fault -- and often, a large part of the reason it is their fault is because they are LGBT, as if being such is to blame for poverty and discrimination that results in them ending in such a place.

Our communities overlook them, much as our society overlooks the homeless in America as a mass

Thank you for writing this. I spent my 20s and early 30s working at homeless shelters and transitional housing programs. I've worked with many GLBT homeless youth who have been kicked out of their homes, and adults who simply cannot make it and lack the support systems to make being housed a reality in an economy where we put more priority in stampeding Walmart on Black Friday than caring for our Citizens.

Here in Vegas, Oscar Goodman, outgoing mayor, tried to make it a crime to feed the homeless. People live under the strip in the water drainage systems, South of the Strip, in tents, off of South Las Vegas Boulevard, and in the few meager shelter placements.

As a gay man, I've had four transgender clients that I knew of, and many GLBT clients. The fear for many of them is suffocating. I've taken in several of my gay friends who were homeless, and for a long time, lived on the verge myself, even as I was working 80 hours a week in various shelters.

That said, there is also a resentment toward many GLBT individuals with HIV/AIDS as they are perceived to get faster services, when they are available. This is in some respects true, especially in progressive communities like Seattle; however, where we fail is in providing the type of wrap-around, enriched housing services that address all the life needs of our community (and the homeless in general). In short, the current system is designed to give the impression of helping and then blames the homeless when they cannot be successful. Sadly, like our votes for gay rights, we continue to vote for Democrats and Republicans who support this ceremony of cruelty.

It's insane that we have a homelessness problem right now at the same time that we have an oversupply of housing. It's also insane that we have plenty of needs not being met but an oversupply of labor.

I'm reading Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine right now, and she's discussing things along these lines, about how the entire point of neoliberalism is to make working and middle class people suffer. There's no need for the hard times America's going through right now, none at all, but it's going to persist because it enriches too many people.

I personally don't think that there should have to be a "community" solution to these problems, but since the government, for its own reasons, is refusing to deal with this problem it'll have to come from us.

You're so right about the oversupply of housing. On top of that, few developers do anything about creating affordable low-income housing. We don't need more 6000 sq. ft. homes with great rooms and granite counters. We need Habitat for Humanity homes.

Wow Patricia, a very fine article. Thank you for writing this. It was confusing and hard to watch Detlow walk away in tears and in so much pain.

Our culture is always the last to get any recognition and I find it even more confusing that our community doesn't have more of an outreach for our kind and our seniors.

Perhaps a call to arms on those of us to unite on our own community.

Love has no labels...I love our family.

Claire Louise Swinford | November 30, 2010 12:54 AM

A thought to ponder. Due to recent events, most notably statements made in reference to the proposed non-discrimination laws in New York City, I have had to rethink my holiday giving. I have always given to the Salvation Army during the holidays, part in tradition and part because I have seen the good work they are capable of. Their hard line anti-LGBT position is not new, but their recent escalations, including an attempt to sway public policy by threatening to pull back services, I find too distasteful to warrant my support. So this year, I will be taking the money I normally would toss into the red kettles, and I am donating it to an organization that supports the homeless in our community.

Being trans-identified, a resident of Arizona, and a strong believer in the work they do, I have chosen This is H.O.W. for my donations. I urge you all to consider a similar donation to a wonderful and vital program. Or, consider donating to an organization in your area that specifically assists the LGBT homeless population. Let us all continue to be charitable, but let us all remember that charity should begin with our own family.

Claire, thanks so much for sharing your decision with everyone. I hope a lot of other people will follow your example and support any local program they know of that cares for LGBT homeless people in some way.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 30, 2010 1:49 AM

Patricia, this is such a hard topic for me because I knew so many poor and sometimes homeless in Chicago.

I first became aware of their plight just after Vietnam in the 1970's when they congregated on street corners, still wearing their old fatigues, trying to come to grips with what their government made them do.

They grew in greater numbers when state governments closed one mental hospital after another in the 1980's and put people on the street who needed structure, bipolar medications (among others) and counseling. For a time there was subsidized housing, disability welfare, but if they did not take their meds they could still become homeless. Americans began to fear the homeless, because off medications there could be violence.

By the 1990's America had become fatter, greedier and less inclined to simply share. They could not see "themselves" in "the other" person with a problem and made up their own urban myths that street beggars were richer than they were.

My mind drifts to 1993 on May 5th. My 40th year and over breakfast I could see an elderly Hispanic woman going through trash to get aluminum cans. As I recycle I immediately ran down to my two garbage bag stash of crushed cans that I kept in my basement. It was too much for her to carry and I drove her to a small apartment just two blocks from my home. In her broken English she thanked me and I attempted to explain to her that she was *my birthday present* that year as I showed her my drivers license. Her elderly husband was ill she told me "we did not always live like this." I stopped back to say hello a week later with more recyclables and a bag of groceries. They were gone. No neighbor knew where they went or would speak to me about it. I was Caucasian. I could be from the government or immigration and they closed up.

It is a heartbreak for me. Why did operating my life not permit me to go to them the next day?

I am thrilled for the happy ending for "Detlow" just as I despise organized charities over "random acts of human kindness." It is not insolvable, it only requires that we share space we already own, but there needs to be some method of safely doing so.

Weeks before I left for Thailand I was not working and volunteered in a soup kitchen operated by Palm Beach county for the urban workers who were homeless in the midst of plenty. Grocery stores used to donate their "outdated" food to these locations around the country. In the case of Florida the greatest contributor was Publix foods. They were finally forced to cease to donate because of fear of lawsuits regarding the food being "outdated." This destroyed a system of providing clean packaged foods that had worked without complaint. I shudder to think of their situation now.

From Jan 15, 2002 until Nov. 14 of 2006 I took all my resources after I became physically disabled and put them into a project to provide housing for newly transitioned women of transsexual experiences. I bought, along with three other women, a 150 year old Catskill resort inn. We received no help at all from the community and did this on whatever meager incomes we had. It came to a screeching halt when the last group attempted to leave me homeless and claim the house. During that time I also ran the only LGBt Katerina relief effort and that only netted 1500 bucks but I was able to do a lot of good with that money.

Our property is now owned by our religion, a Goddess oriented religion with a dedication to charitable works. We still take in women in need, in the past six months alone we have taken in four people on an emergency basis. No one helps us. Every year we put on an Orphan's Thanksgiving for those estranged from family aimed primarily at LGBt folks. We had around twenty this year. I am on SSI for my back injuries and paid the entire cost of the dinner myself as well as having done the lion's share of the food prep.

Some of us do what we can. We rarely get any acknowledgment for it let alone contributions.

The well off among the LGBts are selfish. Three trans housing efforts that started around the same time as ours also are no longer there because no one would help with donations. And that was during good times.

If you'll supply the URL and name of your organization, I'll put it on the list below.

The Maetreum of Cybele takes in women in need.....we no longer focus on transwomen but still include them if they are 100% woman identified. We are extremely lesbian and bisexual woman friendly. The attempt to actually steal our home and leave me personally homeless ended the transwoman focus of our efforts for all time as it was motivated in part by transgender vs women of history nonsense.

I never stopped doing my outreach charitable works but the majority of women living with us are now non trans women.

One of the things we are trying to do is demonstrate that intentional housing communes are one answer to the changes in our society that allow those with fewer resources to pool those resources for a better standard of living. Ours is Goddess spirituality oriented and owned by the priestesses collectively. We have survived for over eight years now on sparse resources.

Hey there *waves* we know you!

It is both nice and yet depressing to see you all speaking up here. It makes me think there are in the end far fewer people who are actually "boots on the ground" doing direct work on core issues for the LGBT community than most people realize, *sigh*

Keeley Webster | November 30, 2010 1:53 PM

While reading your beautifully written and poignant article on the homeless problem, I was mentally eating a little crow. I thought about our conversation about all the effort being placed on fighting Don't Ask Don't Tell and legalizing gay marriage while people are losing their homes and their jobs.

Eating crow, because I'm guilty of thinking of DADT and legalizing marriage as 'gay issues' and the housing crisis and job losses as larger social issues impacting everyone gay or straight. But the fact is that as far as we have come in fighting discrimination, we have a long way to go. Members of the LGBT community, particularly those who are facing economic distress or homelessness, are not able to tap into the social programs others can because of continuing problems with discrimation. (I also read Bil Browning's article about how the Salvation Army treats homeless gays, which brought that home even more for me.) We have many vibrant gay advocacy organizations, but we lack a Salvation Army for homeless LGBT members. Elder Housing in West Hollywood is wonderful, but the project needs to be replicated because the number of people served is a drop in the bucket. The country has an aging population, so all the issues that resulted in the creation of Elder Housing are going to compound.

I hope your call to readers asking for organizations that help homeless LGBT adults unearths a network of social programs. Even if it does, we all need to contact the advocacy organizations we support, and tell them that issues of jobs and housing for members of the LGBT community need to be paramount. We do need advocates to continue to fight discrimination be it by defeating DADT or legalizing marriage, but making sure that everyone in the gay community has food and shelter has to come first.

My feeble few sentences about the Salvation Army's history of discrimination against the LGBT community isn't even the same league as this well-written piece, Keeley. :)

Once again, Patricia has helped open quite a few eyes that were previously blind. I love her for that.

This subject hits close to home with me. I am a 67 year old gay man living in subsidized low income housing. I am one of those resented seniors, referred to by Symbiote, who was allowed to apply with the SF Housing Authority because of my AIDS diagnosis (HOPWA) while the waiting list has been closed for years. I do not discuss my situation outside of my close circle of friends and family. I volunteer three days a week with an AIDS fund raising charity, and have been questioned by other GLBT volunteers approaching 65 about how I was able to find & afford my apartment. I hesitate to say it was because of my AIDS diagnosis because once I did say so, and it was met with a very negative response. Once burnt, once shy. I refer them to every and all GLBT social service org & group in the city.

I am grateful for finding housing, but do experience a guilt similar to that I felt in the 80s when all of my friends were dropping like flies, and I survived. I would like that all my fellow GLBT seniors had the same access to housing.

Here in SF, we do have an organization "Open House SF" which does great work providing information of housing for GLBT seniors. We need a similar organization for adult GLBT homeless persons, and it will have to come from within our community. The general population homeless system is overwhelmed.


Cyndi Richards | November 30, 2010 7:06 PM

Robert;

As a trans-person and a fellow Chicagoan, I hear you LOUD and CLEAR.

It is truly curious to see how much of the money ostensibly donated to help the most oppressed of the LGBT "community" winds up paying for political fundraisers and the like.

Consider, if you will, the cost of renting an upscale "Boystown" bar for an evening (2-4 hrs) of cocktail sipping and glad-handing in an attempt to accumulate a portion of the disposable income and good will (in that order) of the reasonably affluent population of the delightfully diverse north side of Chicago, not to mention the surrounding burbs.

According to the plethora of promotional ads (also NOT free), these festive events happen at least twice a month (MUCH more frequently during election year)here in Chi-town, so multiply that amount of money by 25.

Now, consider the impressive sum these events gather in the name of "fighting the good fight" for all the LGBT folks in our state during the course of one year.

Compare and contrast that number with the almost non-existent amount spent on DIRECTLY reaching out to the homeless and hungry LGB, and specifically T adults who would gladly line up outside these elite gatherings simply to get a bit of the leftover finger food from these gatherings of "true believers".

Meanwhile, the highly celebrated (and compensated) executives of certain LGBT organizations and/or foundations that host these shindigs, and the politicos that love them in and around our fair city, are certainly not late on THEIR mortgages and luxury car payments, are they?

It was painful for me when you first told me about Detlow. I again felt the discomfort when I read the article a moment ago. I've been on the brink more than once in my life. I consider myself fortunate that my network of friends were able to help me. Luckily, I've also been able to in a position to help others who were at the end of the rope.

I have read the comments as well.

I agree with jamespaul's comment. This is a problem our community (i.e., GLTB) needs to address.

Where to start?? How to start??

Radical Bitch and Clare Louise have given to concrete examples of where and how to start. Thank you both.

Thank you, Patricia for the well written article. I hope it is a catalyst for change.

Interpretercat | November 30, 2010 11:54 PM

Fantastic article, PiNWa!
I pray for Detlow everyday, and think about that meeting with him. Admittedly, I felt badly that I was in my nice warm house, with my friends for Thanksgiving, while people like "our friend" were on the street eating out of dumpsters.

I do feel guilty about that everyday. I have made it a point to speak to the pan handlers out on the street about their meals that day, and where they stay. There is a homeless man, named Antonio I see in Downtown on a regular basis. He sleeps on the street, and is frequently on the sidewalk next to the parking lot I leave my car at.
Antonio and I have in depth conversations about where he has been, and his experiences. A refugee from Cuba, he came here for Political Asylum and was not granted such. He is reduced to being a pan handler, asking people like me for money. It made me wonder about this issue, even for our own community.

I have asked the Executive Director of Ventura County Rainbow Alliance if he knows of anything in Ventura County for Homeless Gays...
NADA

asking some of my homeless clients what types of services there are for people of our community:

ZILCH
( many of them choose not to stay in shelters claiming they are too dangerous! sleeping in a tent at the river bottom is safer)!!??!!!

asking about assisting the homeless:

NOT ENOUGH TIME!

This has got to stop!

When will people stop driving their BMW and MERCEDES and start donating the $10,000.00 for a table at a GALA to buying a property and providing for "our family".. Their Family.. their brothers and sisters.

Yes, dollars for AIDS is still necessary, but a human's basic needs should be met first. I have been known to give Antonio a granola bar or a banana when I see him. I give Earl, who sits underneath the 405 overpass at Wilshire a big smile and a hearty handshake. He still gives me a full report on the services he receives at the VA.
I know these are not LGBT folks, but they are homeless humans, just the same. Perhaps if we can bend the ears of ALL of the executive directors of ALL of the LGBT organizations, and their major donors, we might see the homeless problem become a relatively small problem compared to what it has become.
I pray for that day, as well as the day we have a cure for AIDS, cancer and black toenails we runners get.

I pray for people like Detlow to continue their friendships, make new friendships with people who are empathetic, so they at least may have a nice warm roof over their heads, some food in their tummies, and be reunited with their beloved 4 legged friends. I pray for a day when the least of my worries will be the traffic on the 405, instead of friends of mine, and their pets being separated due to homelessness.

DETLOW, if you are reading this, you and your kitty are in my thoughts daily! Cyber hugs to you! call me anytime when you need a friendly ear, or shoulder to lean on.

Let's start working together, all of you reading this, and speak to the powers that be that we need LGBT friendly shelters for ADULTS. Perhaps this would be the best Hannuka gift I can get from each and every one of you this year?

Happy Holidays, and when you see that homeless person on the street, don't look away, give them a big smile, and make their day!

Patricia your article expressed the reality, fear, largeness and emergency of this most basic need. Without a bed, shower, food there is not much of a way to show for an interview. Especially with the hundreds going for the same job. So much in our humanity is broken bandaids.
I think we have a shelter in Boise who keeps families together, accepts any and all ages. Started by a former Presbyterian. I will get back to you. That is after I can stop crying for my own fears of inadequacy and anger that our societies get to this damned place.

From what I am told The InterFaith Sactuary in Boise Idaho is available to all ages, orientation, here is their contact: info@interfaithsanctuary.org.
The organization started with the concept of keeping families together, finding jobs, housing.

Dear Jesse,

This is a blog that you will want to see. "FEMA Camps for the Homeless."

http://fema-for-homeless.blogspot.com/

sean-michael | December 4, 2010 8:25 PM

Thanks for writing this article. Homelessness is an issue close to my heart. When I was young a friend's father died and shortly after, their house burned down. They weren't homeless for long because the community we lived in pulled together, but it taught me that anyone can become homeless. I know what you are saying is correct. It is hard to get people involved even with the existing programs here in phoenix like this is HoW and HOPE house. I am grateful such programs exist in this time where so many are losing their jobs and homes. Not to mention those being kicked out of their homes due to their transition or coming out. Much more support for our community's homeless is needed.

Always so much to pay attention to...
I love that you wrote this.
I love that you continue to bring my attention to the things just past the end of my own nose.
And I love that the words are being discussed, debated and people will eventually find help and acceptance and dignity because someone took the time to see another person in need because of what you wrote.
I'll be paying closer attention.

The American Holocaust. Thousands of Homeless Disappear!

http://homeless-disappear.blogspot.com

Kevin Quinn | January 4, 2011 10:18 AM

The American Holocaust. Thousands of Homeless Disappear!

http://homeless-disappear.blogspot.com

Everyday I see more and more homeless LGBT adults. I know one person cannot change the world, but I intend to change my corner of it, and I hope you will join me. There are thousands of homeless LGBT adults. There are services for LGBT homeless youths, but not adult's. I intend to change that, but I need your help. Please share this page with others, and donate what you can. We have several projects in the works, but all require funding, your donations go directly to providing food and drink, as well as helping to build resources to eventually provide shelter. Help give someone something to eat, or drink, and make their day. You will feel great! Visit us at www.prlgbthp.org