Paramount Studios is right down the block. The Hollywood sign is in our backyard. People dress up in costumes daily to earn tips on Hollywood Boulevard. Tourists take pictures with the stars plastered on the sidewalk. People from all walks of life have traveled from near and far to try to make it in the city that is primarily identified with movie stars and movie studios. But not everyone can “make it,” and many end up joining the already large homeless population.
At my workplace, Social Services at Blessed Sacrament, I start the day before the sun has even risen. I ride my bike with my housemate and coworker, Drew, 2 miles past several of our sleeping clients as we head into the parish building that contains the social services we provide. The model of the agency has changed drastically in the last 6 months. SS@BS (Social Services at Blessed Sacrament) no longer provides breakfasts, lunches, showers, and clothes to the Hollywood homeless and low-income clients, but rather provides a place for participants to engage in conversation and relationships centered around group-like activities. Groups include Morning Mindset (Meditation/Mindfulness – I class I might eventually lead!!), yoga, art, sports discussion, 12 Step Recovery from Drug and Alcohol Abuse, among others. I have met some incredible participants at SS@BS who have wonderful stories and add fascinating insights to conversations we have on a daily basis.
Today we hosted a cross-cultural conversation encouraging our homeless clients to engage with international students from around the world studying at King’s College adjacent to SS@BS. After introductions around the room, our clients began teaching the international students slang from “the hood.” This dialogue was a beautiful exchange where our clients were able to offer an incredible service – practice with the English language – while being empowered at the same time.
Last night we also opened La Casa de la Communidad, our neighborhood ministry house that welcomes the population of our primarily Latino community. We had about 12 kids show up for homework help, to eat cookies and drink lemonade, and to relax in a safe space in the neighborhood… more on this ministry in future posts!
Your continued prayers and support are much appreciated. Please keep the Hollywood Homeless in your prayers – that they would have their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs met. If you have comments, questions, or prayers please send them my way! I’ve currently raised $5,125 of the necessary $6,500. See the post below for information about donating!