In A Los Angeles Park, Worrying Signs Of Rising Homelessness


Continues to pummel the nation's economy, There are troubling signs that more people are slipping into homelessness. NPR's Adrian Florido visited Park in Los Angeles, where this is becoming more visible every day. Echo Park is one of Ella's iconic public spaces. It has a big lake lined by palm trees and a postcard view of the downtown skyline. It's always had a small homeless community. But in the last few months, people sleeping in tents have filled half of the park's 16 acres. Jesse Brandy moved in four months ago after losing his job programming office phone systems. Everything's closed. Businesses aren't putting any effort into you know, telephone lines in programming those systems out of work. He couldn't afford the rent. So that left me with friends going through, you know, house the house and then became a burden. So So he came to the park and pitched a tent. There are people have been here before hand, but a lot of these people right here. This was because of the pandemic. Federal, state and local addiction moratoriums are supposed to be keeping people in their homes, even if they can't pay the rent during the pandemic. It says that who moved into Echo Park over the summer, said a lot of people like him have left their apartments anyway. Rather than fall behind on rent. I didn't want that hanging over me. Even though there was a moratorium on Enter and I didn't technically has to pay it. I'm not making money. So how? While my loading up on death, he said in addiction over back rent would hurt him for years. He recently found a temporary job working the reception desk it a tax preparation firm. Colleagues don't know He lives in the park. Which is why he asked me not to use his last name. Like I met people out here. They had good jobs. And then could the foreground. This pandemic is just, you know, I really hit him hard. There's even like families with kids here, you know, because of the pandemic groups that fan out to do. Homeless counts have put that off for now, making it hard to know how many people the pandemic has already driven to the streets. Just because there's no academic data does not discount our own eyes. Pete White directs the Lay Community Action Network, an anti poverty organization. Us traveling in communities where there were no house with people and there are now informal settlements everywhere. There is no dept that their arm or people on the streets Ella in California have had a homeless crises for years. And while officials are using pandemic relief money to get people inside White fears. What he's saying is just the beginning here and nationally. This crisis will on Lee get worse unless we figure out how to do all we can to keep people who are barely hanging on. In their homes. And for folks who are house list, figuring out cheaper and faster and innovative ways to get people inside. Brenda Modano moved into Echo Park before Christmas and says the community has formed quickly here with weekly meetings and all We get together. We discussed that girls, if anything wrong or what? What's going on? You know how many kids you could have? She was standing with stubble. What soy who was manning a table accepting donations for the parks residents. Shoes, toilet paper soap clothing. Ah, feel crappy about because by doing that I know that I'm helping some other people and that made me happy. So I moved into the park seven months ago, almost for the first time in his life, he said. 35 years after moving here from what they might let you pulled the business card out of his tent who started with so general handyman? I do I do. Drive one painting, plumbing, hardwood floor. That's what I do. So he says that when the pandemic struck work dried up the first night in his tent, he couldn't believe it, but everything happens for every zones. You're gonna get up on my feet. I know that I don't Don't get up. I'm going after I lost everything. He started recycling cans, he says, and scraping jobs together. Little by Little Adrian flooded. NPR NEWS, Los Angeles

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