I stepped into Artisan House last night not knowing what to expect. A voice on the phone invited me earlier in the day to help. I learned Silver Lake Love would be
handing out gifts to the homeless, and it would be great if I could join them. Naturally my thoughts wandered to the question: When did the homeless crises in L.A. get so bad?
Living DTLA myself the past five years, this is the truth of the situation I see daily first hand. It’s everywhere you look and the social divide appears to be growing thicker each minute. All of us Downtowners help our favorite homeless personalities, but a few dollars here and there wont make a lasting difference. I don’t have the answers, and I showed up anyway.
I found a small group of would-be peaceful warriors camouflaged as urban professionals. Chi Ip ran the show. He shuffled back and forth, as if he were blowing in the wind while sharing, “ the most productive methods for combatting the problem of homelessness, is to share love and respect. Lets take a walk and just talk with someone homeless. We might be the first interaction that person has had in all week.”
Chi is the Executive Director and founder of Silver Lake Love: A nonprofit group that empowers local homeless and disadvantaged communities of Los Angeles by providing basic needs care packages and clothing while promoting love and respect for all.
Following a few candid photos, Chi led us down Main Street, as if he were a fearless leader, towards the tight knit area off Los Angeles St known as “tent city” or Skid Row.
Makeshift camp communities lined the public sidewalks and seemed to go on forever. It wasn’t half a blocks walk that I connected eyes with a stranger and engaged in honest conversation. His name was John. A middle-aged dude that lost his job, his apartment, then had his truck impounded. “It’s surprising how quickly life get’s away from you,” He said.
I handed John the Silver Lake Love care package including a toothbrush, ear plugs, socks, bandaids, floss, a soft tooth pick, and chapstick. When John smiled I realized why Matthew Aversa had called me.
For more information about Silver Lake Love please contact Chi Ip
Together we’ll transform the Eastside of Los Angeles.