The Necessity of Grace

I have less than a week to come up with rent. I called a place called “Beyond Shelter” here in L.A. for potential emergency assistance (all State of California programs have been suspended due to our budget ‘shortfall’ while Los Angeles has become the ‘capital of homelessness’ in the country).

The extremely cold, uncaring and unhelpful ‘worker’ on the other end of the phone at “Beyond Shelter” told me that I’d have to wait until I got my ‘three day or quit’ notice to apply for help and then, maybe they could help, maybe not.

That was what set me off. The blase manner with which a person who is supposed to be ‘helping’ people in crisis basically told me, I’d have to wait until a crisis point and then tough luck.

She had NO COMPASSION, didn’t care and even hung up on me after telling me ‘we’re not a shelter’ — which was not what I asked; I never even implied that they were a shelter — but that caused me to tell her maybe they should change the organization’s name — take any mention of ‘shelter’ out of their title because by the way she was talking to me, they clearly had no concern for one of the basic human needs (food, water, shelter) AT ALL.

Compassion, humanity, helping people in need. Where has that gone? People seem to care only about how much they can get for themselves and have become increasingly callous at a time when, really, if we wanted to evolve into our ultimate potential, we would be helping each other out, just a little more.

All I would want is an emergency grant to try to survive until I can find work again. I clearly have ‘made mistakes,’ as people love to point out when you need help of any kind, but I have paid and continue to pay for them dearly.

My dream would be a place where people can get that ‘one-time’ help, then, if interested, make a commitment to get their lives back, however that needs to take form — classes, monitoring, some form of accountability — to be ‘eligible’ for ongoing mini-grants, micro-lending to fellow Americans (a crazy concept apparently since all these programs serve other countries not the poor or economically ‘vulnerable’ here in the U.S. which I find unfathomable).

But all I have been referred to is a giant bureaucracy that, once engaged, seems to be a vortex of wasted time and whatever precious resources I have left.

Let’s find a way to help people get their lives back, now, before more of us fall away into obscurity, or worse.


  1. Hi. Thanks for visiting my blog earlier. I hope things get better for you. I’ve had some tough times myself, and thankfully, I’m through them now. I’m happy to meet you. Are you on Twitter? @mikecj


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