THE ANGELS.- "Do not ignore the problem and make the decision to help"May be the key piece in the homeless combat in U.S, advise Jess Echeverry, a activist who suffered in his own flesh the Homelessness and he has been assisting families at risk in more than 20 years in The Angels.

Founder of SOFESA, a non-profit organization that since 1999 help people in poverty, Echeverry defends that the solution to the problem that afflicts the country and especially to California It is in the same community.

“Anyone can decide go to help tosomeone. We must get rid of this fear we have and stop believing that we are not capable, ”the activist told Efe.

At 46, Echeverry talks about homelessness from his own experience: victim of sexual abuse, with a teenage pregnancy Y two suicide attempts, ended up living in the streets when he was not yet adulthood.

Know in your own flesh what is the indifference of others, as the table of salvation that for homeless No roof can mean a generous hand.

Echeverry, mother of five children, says she was the support of her husband, Charlie Echeverry, the one that allowed him to leave the whirlwind in which he was and that is why he insists on the need for a change of attitude towards the homeless.

“By just asking, can I help you with something now? Is there anything I can buy you? It's literally that easy, ”said the activist.

Homelessness in Los Angeles has become one of the main problems of both the city and the county, to the point that the president Donald Trump He said he will intervene to solve it.

According to a count made last year in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the number of people sleeping on the streets increased 12% compared to 2018 when adding 58,936 homeless, more than the 52,765 of the previous year.

According to this study, the Hispanic make up the 35% of the homeless in Los Angeles County.

But the problem, fueled by the affordable housing shortage, is extensive to everything California, where it is estimated that near 130,000 people have no home, according to the government Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Perhaps out of desperation in the face of an urgent problem, the authorities suggest proposals that raise controversy, such as when last week Robert Rickman, Mayor of Tracy, a city north of this state, proposed using $ 50,000 to rent a bus and take the homeless of the city to Stockton, a neighboring area where a building had just been built refuge.

In his Twitter account, the mayor of that town, Michael TubbsHe described the proposal as reprehensible, pathetic, and that "I simply would not tolerate it."

Facing the growing attitudes of rejection to the homeless, Echeverry lamented the bad image that has been created around the people who live on the street and who do not show the reality of the problem.

“The destitute are human beings. Someone who is living on the sidewalk of a street is because something terrible happened to him, and has not found how to sustain its basic level, such as having a roof, food, work”, Stressed the activist.

Echeverry, who has become a voice for the dignity of the life of the Los Angeles ArchdioceseHe said that through his own history and through his work with the homeless he has proven that sexual and physical abuse are part of the problems that a large part of the people living on the street have faced.

“I would say that the 99% of women's families Y the men with those we meet have suffered sexual abuse in one way or another, ”he explained, and then ensure that the“ open wounds ”of these abuses become a barrier for the destitute to find a way out.

While California expects to spend more than 2021 in $ 1 billion in homeless response funds, including $ 750 million for affordable housing and medical services For those who live on the streets, Echeverry urges the community to be part of the solution.

"We should not be afraid to ask what is right and good, we must ask what you are doing to help solve the problem," said the woman, who next fall plans to present her first book, entitled "Dazzled ”, Which details their life experiences.


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