Team W9 gathered at 3:30am and headed out to the streets of Hollywood. At around 4:00am our group spotted a gentleman in a wheelchair trying to cross Highland while towing a wagon full of blankets. The gentlemen agreed to be interviewed and revealed that his “wagon” was also his “mobile home”. The effort the man expended to cross this busy street by far surpassed the effort of our entire group to wake up in the morning so that he could be counted.
We had the opportunity to interview a total of three individuals who have been homeless for decades. The interviewers approached each person with respect and in a comfortable, relaxed manner. The personal information the individuals shared within the survey was remarkable and revealing. Particular striking was the humanity of the dialogue, the vulnerability on the part of both interviewer and interviewee. Two people declined to be photographed. The shame and stigma of being homeless and possibly being affected by mental illness is strong. Also the fear that paranoia can generate. Possibly it is a justified fear. Going out in the early morning seems to be a very good time to connect with the most vulnerable individuals.