California’s Homeless Dilemma

One block from when our grandson plays basketball tournaments

Early this week  Jacob, my grandson, and I had to go to Smart and Final to pick up raffle tickets. Although this grocery store is less than two miles from my home, I did not feel safe. The homeless, unhoused, displaced (or by any other name that they go by) have become a big concern in our city.


As I was making my turn onto Katella, I noticed from my peripheral vision a tall, thin, white man with matted hair using Katella Avenue to empty his bladder. In view of all the passing vehicles, this disoriented man was relieving himself. “Jacob, don’t look at that man!” I yelled. It was a disgusting sight.

Shopping Carts and Litter

Many retailers are missing shopping carts because the displaced help themselves to them. They place their belongings in them and conveniently go around town collecting other things. To the retailer this has become a financial burden that they pass on to their customers. To retrieve these carts would involve the police because who in their right mind would ever approach the homeless to take something that does not belong to them anyway?

There are not enough trash cans around to fill the garbage these poor people produce. By contrast, the displaced cause fires, property is destroyed and their unhealthy, bad behavior must be addressed.

The State of California

We have all seen the mess our state has made be creating many useless programs costing billions of dollars to solve this dilemma. Nothing seems to work and we have been affected by this complicated crisis. Although politicians use the problems of the homeless as a platform to gain the trust of their constituents, when they are voted into office, the homeless crisis  is always put on the back burner.

My Simple Idea

Stop allocating money for climate change and for  those who are illegally crossing our borders. Take the billions that our states gave to Planned Parenthood to support abortions and open mental hospitals. We need to clean our streets of human beings who are suffering and have no place to go. One in four of the homeless suffer from metal illness, and in California we have an estimate of over 171,000 homeless people on the streets.

Churches need to get involved by offering free counseling and by visiting and sharing the love of God. I would much rather visit a them in a hospital than confront them on the street.

How our tax dollars are spent in California:   This Information is  from California Environmental Voters.

With prompting from EnviroVoters, locally-funded partners, and the broader environmental community, we secured:

  • $45 million for offshore wind through the California Energy Commission
  • $150 million for community resilience centers
  • $225 million for clean energy transmission projects in the Climate Catalyst Fund
  • $61.7 million for ocean protection and carbon sequestration
  • An increase in $75 million for extreme heat planning and support
  • $1 billion to ensure that we’re spending to build green infrastructure that will allow us to move away from dirty gas and diesel plants in times of energy scarcity, through SB 849 for the Clean Energy Reliability Investment Plan.

Of course this does not include the billions of dollars to expand access to abortions and the over 31 billion dollars to provide for illegal immigrants

The team: Robert, Leah, me Jane,Gary and a sweet homeless man
Veronica, me, Robert, Mary and a group of lovely homeless people

The Homeless Ministry

For 20 years I was in charge of serving the homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles.  I loved serving these people and made many friends. It was a different time; this was before COVID. We as a team felt comfortable and welcomed on the streets.  In the beginning we had a large team helping us with this ministry. As the years passed it dwindled to sometimes just three or four of us. In spite of this, I was never afraid because I felt that God was protecting us. I believe that the main reason our ministry was successful was because we respected the homeless. We not only gave them food to eat but we fed them manna from heaven. We watched our backs, and many times different homeless people would join us in handing out the lunches. They also protected us.

I trained the new team members on how to gently handle the homeless. It takes a special gift of empathy to understand that this is the lowest place a human being can be. God closed our eyes to the filth and the smells of the streets so that we could minister. Sixteen years ago our team experienced the worse of all incidents on Skid Row.

Bottom photo: Precious homeless man, me, John, Ruth, Lauren, Carmelita and Robert

The Stabbing

The man’s name was Anthony, a well-groomed parolee, wearing a blue and white plaid shirt buttoned to his neck; I offered him a meal and he politely gestured yes. After a quick introduction, I asked if he wanted prayer. “Can I touch you?” I asked, and he agreed.

Skid Row is the Devil’s territory, so you pray with a watchful eye. As I placed my hands on his shoulders, I noticed a young man in a black hoody come so close to me that he touched my right arm. I thought to myself that this man has no reverence for the things of God, but I continued to pray for Anthony. Suddenly from my left side the hooded man pulled out a sizable knife. This knife was different; it had a curved edge with a fancy, carved gold handle like a Sinbad dagger. He started stabbing Anthony; this happened so quickly and was just inches from me. This was like an out-of-body experience for me. As if in slow motion I looked around at the 15 or so people who were witnessing this heinous crime; not one of them did a thing to help this poor man. Instead they turned and looked the other way; it was as if they somehow were in collusion with the stabber. I started to scream, “Leave him alone!” “Leave him alone!” This got the attention of the others on my team and they rushed over to help. I saw the knife moving in rapid secession and Anthony attempting to dodge the weapon. Again I screamed, “Leave him alone!” Finally the perpetrator fled. Anthony’s neck and face were flushed red and his shirt was shredded but not a drop of blood. Our team surrounded him to comfort him, but he was inconsolable. “You’re okay, you’re okay,” I kept reassuring him but he just continued to drop “F” bombs and said repeatedly that he got stabbed. I explained that he did not get injured because he had a shield of protection while he was being prayed for.

These occurrences are the norm on Skid Row. The police are unable to keep up with the crime and the street people do not get involved for fear of retribution. To this day I understand the role of a guardian angel because both Anthony and I were protected.

The Shock

We were all pretty shaken up from this mindless act of violence. I, like Anthony, was in a state of shock.  After leaving Skid Row, I had to swing by my son’s friend Jason’s home to pick up our granddaughter; Jason noticed the distressed look on my face.  I gave him a quick summary of what happened and instructed him not to tell my husband Mike for fear that he would not allow me to continue feeding the homeless on Skid Row.

At home I put all anxiety aside and the evening went as usual. Well…until we started watching the movie Hidalgo. There are many fighting scenes in this movie, but one in particular made me jump up from the couch and scream. There it was, the same Sinbad-curved knife almost exactly like the one on Skid Row! Mike looked over at me and asked, “What is the matter with you!” My reply: “Oh nothing.”  After several months I did share the incident with Mike, leaving out a few details.

My Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the 20 years of serving Your people on the streets. Please open doors to help solve this growing problem. May we elect godly politicians who have a heart to help these hurting souls. Amen.

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