Walter and his wife are homeless in Venice Beach, California. Walter suffers from schizophrenia. Both he and his wife are kind and gentle people. Because of the affordable housing crisis and the lack of support for people who are homeless or have a mental illness, they have no choice but to sleep outside. No matter what the politicians say, there is no support to get Walter and his wife off the streets. Sadly, they have a better chance of dying than getting the help they need.
Los Angeles budgeted $30 million for homeless sweeps this fiscal year. L.A. has also budgeted massive funding for “enforcement zones” around the budge housing. The cost to taxpayers of these homeless sweeps around the homeless shelters is more than the budget to run the shelter.
Communities claim that homeless sweeps are needed because homelessness is a public safety issue. It is. It’s actually a public safety crisis. But the truth is all the homeless sweeps do is displace people who have no place to go and they eat taxpayer money. Without support to get homeless people the help they need, sweeps are inhumane and do absolutely nothing to solve the crisis. Homeless sweeps actually make it worse!
Walter and his wife lost everything in the sweeps including all of their clothes. Walter went for a cup of coffee and when he returned, sanitation workers were dumping all of their belonging in a pile mixed with everyone else’s stuff. Walter pleaded with the workers but they never give mercy.
The Mayor of Los Angeles said in an LA Times article that the city is now using a more “nuanced” approach to sweeps and that there are social workers present. The real truth is, rarely are support workers present. The reason is, there are no shelter beds and there is no housing to help people. Plus, claiming the sweeps which are aggressive as all hell are nuanced is a flat out lie.
If you live in Los Angeles follow #ServicesNotSweeps on social media or visit As a taxpayer, you are paying more for sweeps than you are to help people. There is something seriously wrong with that.
We wrote about it here: ‘Services Not Sweeps’ Aims to Reform Homeless Sweeps in Los Angeles
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Since its launch in November 2008, Invisible People has leveraged the power of video and the massive reach of social media to share the compelling, gritty, and unfiltered stories of homeless people from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The vlog (video blog) gets up close and personal with veterans, mothers, children, layoff victims and others who have been forced onto the streets by a variety of circumstances. Each week, they’re on InvisiblePeople.tv, and high traffic sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, proving to a global audience that while they may often be ignored, they are far from invisible.
Invisible People goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages can understand, and can’t ignore. The vlog puts into context one of our nation’s most troubling and prevalent issues through personal stories captured by the lens of Mark Horvath – its founder – and brings into focus the pain, hardship and hopelessness that millions face each day. One story at a time, videos posted on InvisiblePeople.tv shatter the stereotypes of America’s homeless, force shifts in perception and deliver a call to action that is being answered by national brands, nonprofit organizations and everyday citizens now committed to opening their eyes and their hearts to those too often forgotten.
Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the way we think about people experiencing homelessness.