"There's so many different types of situations that can cause homelessness. You really can't stereotype it. You really can't." These are the words of 17-year-old Michelle, who lives in Skid Row with her mother and four younger siblings.
In the video above, Chronicle Project tells three stories of homelessness in Los Angeles. First, there's Michelle, who lives with her family at the Union Rescue Mission in Skid Row.
"How did this happen? To us! My mom isn’t abusive. She's not an alcoholic. She's never done drugs," Michelle said.
Next, there's Pops, who walked into the Union Rescue Mission two years ago, after spending over fifty years of his life as a heroin addict. Now, Pops is the man who restores dignity to LA's homeless, providing toothbrushes, deodorant and the like at the mission's men's hygiene department. Pops explains what helped him become sober at the mission: "They gave me a lot of love. And I've never experienced that before. Never."
Last, we meet Maurice, 14, who lives with his mother and two younger siblings at Hope Gardens Family Center. Maurice shows off his own room, noting with a smile that he's never had a backyard before. He said, "Life before here was basically miserable for me."
Maurice is studying at a science academy and gets to learn about flying and even fly in a helicopter. His dream is to become a pilot.
With an estimated homeless population of 82,000, Los Angeles has more homeless individuals and families than any other city in the country. Click to donate to the Union Rescue Mission or Hope Gardens Family Center.