By Bridget Duncan, special for Van Nuys News Press
VAN NUYS, CA – Pops, as Paul Read is known for the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission in Van Nuys, California, is in the grounds of the 80-year-old, mint-colored Central Lutheran Mission-style church near a small church Vegetable garden with blue iron tables, metal peacocks and ceramic bunnies.
As the Case Manager of the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, Read is responsible for providing food, clothing and showers to the homeless participants Monday through Friday from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. With the nearby Van Nuys Courthouse, Read tries out social security cards, driver’s licenses To obtain birth certificates, EBT cards and grants for the people he helps.
Today over half a million people in the US are homeless of some kind, 13,000 die every year, they have a life expectancy of 50 years, 89.7 percent of the homeless are 24 years or older, 16 percent are 50-60 years old – Years old, 3.2 percent are 62 years or older, 20 percent are children, 42 percent of street children describe themselves as LGBT, 58,000 schoolchildren identify themselves as homeless, 48 percent are white, 39 percent are African American, 2.8 percent Native Americans, 13 percent Hispanic or Latino, 61 percent are male, 40 percent are veterans, 38.6 percent are disabled, 25 percent have mental illness, and 47 percent of the homeless homeless live in California, according to PolicyAdvice.net.
Read understands the high levels of stress people can experience living on the street. He calls it the trauma of “sleeping with one eye open”. When asked about questions related to temporary housing and permanent housing, Read does not hesitate to answer.
“We need both,” said Read. “Many are afraid”
Ken Craft, President and CEO of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission since 2009, believes it is inhumane to leave people on the streets while they wait for affordable or permanent housing. Craft said that he would like to become a permanent home developer in the future.
With this in mind, the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission offers temporary accommodation and operates 13 accommodations, two access centers and a job center. In 2020, in collaboration with Los Angeles, they opened a navigation center, a bridge shelter with 85 beds and a bridge shelter with 100 beds.
They also opened six COVID-19 shelters and 36 caravans in Los Angeles City and Park Recreation Centers. In 2021, they expanded into the Antelope Valley and opened two Bridge Housing Shelters in the West San Fernando Valley and opened the very first Tiny Home Villages in Los Angeles. Five more Tiny Home Villages will follow.
Each Tiny Home is 64 square meters, has two beds, heating, air conditioning, windows, a small desk and a front door. On-site meals are offered as well as showers, storage rooms, an animal yard, a common visiting area, property navigation, and mental health services, vocational training and referral and case management.
On March 10, 2022, the former roller skating rink Skateland in Northridge will open as the newest animal shelter with 107 sleeping cabins from donations from the late Alex Trebek and other generous donors and is part of the “A Bridge Home” initiative of the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. Garcetti told the LA Times that the plan had started to fill a void in the city’s homeless shelters.
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority executive director Heidi Marston also told the Times that 75 percent of the homeless in the country are leaving shelters because they can come and go freely and there are insufficient subsidized housing.
Read, who also runs a homeless Facebook group called Passions, which is described as a group of people with a desire to reach people in dire need of housing, various services, and most importantly, love, says he sees Colorado as a role model . “There they open vacant buildings and shelter the homeless, especially in winter.”
“We should all be caring,” adds Read. “Come on LA, why don’t we do this? Love your next.”
This story was written by [email protected] for UCLA and Van Nuys News Press
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