Any place to call home

first_imgThe mentally ill and, increasingly, families with very young children are also a part of homeless population, she said. While housing for the mentally ill has been a problem for decades, more and more families with young children are falling through the cracks as the cost of living soars and wages stagnate, she said. Experts on the homeless said families try to stay off the streets by living in cars or renting hotel rooms, but other people live in makeshift cities that exist outside the mainstream and out of sight. Standing in the riverbed under the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway, deputies John Rose and Paul Archambault of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Community Oriented Policing unit said the bridges were a major dwelling before last Monday. “This was probably one of the main spots,” Archambault said. “They had structures and little houses built. It was kind of cozy.” Despite the fact that most of the trash, debris, tents, and a wide variety of personal items have been cleared out from under the adjacent bridges at the 605 and Cloverleaf Drive since last Monday, remnants of human life were still apparent. Intricate drawings were visible on walls. Rocks that had been intended for erosion control were moved to make room for living areas. The dirt near the underside of the overpass had been leveled for makeshift beds. On Monday, COPS deputies had organized a social service operation to offer the people living under the bridge medical and psychiatric evaluation, and then refer them for further services. All of the 40 homeless who they aided were placed in housing, deputies said. They hope the operation will serve as a model for the rest of the department and other law enforcement agencies, Sgt. Al Cobos said. “They live bridge to bridge,” Archambault said. “They develop little societies, and they all know each other.” Rose said these homeless communities often become entrenched and cultures develop. “They establish tenancy,” he said. “Certain people live under certain bridges, and each bridge has its own demographic.” Homeless use the riverbed as a thoroughfare and communicate up and down the banks, he said. The deputies estimated 200 people lived along the San Gabriel River from the 605 overpass in Baldwin Park to Lakewood. As of now, the only shelter available in the San Gabriel Valley is seasonal – a winter shelter provided by the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless and a co-op of seven Valley churches. The shelter is open from Dec. 1 to March 15. “That’s all there is in the San Gabriel Valley,” said Colleen Castellano, the Coalition’s director. And after March 15, “it’s still cold.” But the winter shelter can’t house families. Castellano said when they arrive for shelter, they are bused to one of the few churches that can accommodate them. “There is very little low-cost housing,” Abrams said. “And even low-cost housing is not really low-cost in today’s market.” A lack of jobs and child-care can render single women unemployable, said Clay Hollopeter, director of the San Gabriel Valley Boys and Girls Club. The group provides meals and other necessities to the Valley’s homeless. “If you’ve got a child you can’t take to work with you, you can’t work,” he said, adding that the current economic climate is a contributing factor. “Minimum wage is not enough to live on,” he said. And a lot of people are paid less than minimum wage under the table, he added. Castellano said that while the homeless situation in the Valley persists, efforts to open a permanent shelter have not been successful. “We’ve been fighting for one for several years now,” she said. “But we feel like we’re spinning our wheels.” (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2393160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! • Photo Gallery: Homeless removed from 605 Fwy • Video: Homeless removed from 605 FwyBruce Harp has a bed, a television set, stove and running water. Instead of filling an apartment or house though, the basic necessities are parked in an outdoor nursery in the unincorporated community of Bassett. He cooks on a butane stove, runs his appliances off a car battery and has tall potted plants in place of a door. He said he became homeless more than six years ago, after his father died in his arms. “It took a lot out of me,” said the 48-year-old former tile setter. “I couldn’t focus, couldn’t keep myself together, couldn’t concentrate.” He has been in various shelters, but prefers to keep to himself. “I have my freedom out here,” he said. “I’m not bothering anybody.” Harp is one of nearly 10,000 people who are homeless on any given night, according to a count done in 2005 by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. “There are some who just can’t fit into the norm, they want to be free to move around,” said Shirley Abrams, education coordinator for the Los Angeles County Office of Education. “There’s always been a group like that.” last_img read more

The questions Arsenal players should have answered on Twitter

first_img1 Per Mertesacker (back) and Calum Chambers (front) were two of five players who answered questions on Twitter Arsenal held a Twitter takeover for fans to ask five first team players questions.Using #AskPer #AskFlamini #AskChambers #AskOspina and #AskSanti, Gooners tweeted the club and player.However, there were a number of questions that went unanswered, ones which we feel deserve to be aired. Who knows, maybe there just wasn’t time to get around to them.There seemed to be a lot of focus on the heights of Mertesacker and Cazorla, as well as Flamini’s tendency to pick up yellow cards.Check them out below…last_img