Good afternoon from Trabuco Canyon, California and O'Neill Regional Park in Orange County. We
are here for a few days after spending three days in Los Angeles parked in St. John's Cathedral parking lot.
Over the past few weeks we've been alternating our stays between church parking lots and various campgrounds around Southern California.
The weather is wonderful here and reminds me much of spring in the South, minus the rains of the Southern spring, but sporadically punctuated by Santa Ana winds. Last night the winds blew at around 20-30 miles an hour with gusts reaching much higher, rocking Miranda periodically. Temperatures are generally in the 60's during the day and 40's at night. Spring in Winter.
Which goes a long ways toward explaining why Los Angeles has the second largest homeless population in the U.S., just under New York City. The weather in LA is more friendly to those on the street.
We see homelessness everywhere we travel. I'm guessing some people here in our current campground are homeless. There's a couple camped in a tent with children. Their car tag is one from Kansas.
The photo above was taken in Riverside, California last week. The fire happened along the Santa Ana River. There's a bike/walking trail, the Santa Ana River Trail, running just over 50 miles along the Santa Ana River. I rode from our campground in Riverside to the trail then west along the trail for about 10 miles one afternoon.
There are many homeless encampments along the 10 miles I covered on my ride. I can only imagine there must be many more in the 40 or so miles I didn't cover. Fires are not uncommon in a place that's dry and has low humidity and where people camp out of necessity.
While we didn't travel extensively in Los Angeles, we did get out some, going to the California Science Musuem, the Natural History Museum and lunch on Saturday, then dinner on Sunday evening. The homeless are everywhere downtown and all around where we were staying near the USC campus. They sleep on the steps of the cathedral and under nearby interstates.
On any give night there are 60,000 people who are deemed homeless in Los Angeles. A fifth live in shelters, a quarter live out in the open and thirty percent live in vehicles that may or may not be operable. 780,000 in Los Angeles spend 90% or more of their income on rent.
The economy is great. For some.
Which brings me to this past Sunday morning where I was, once again, in church. This time Melanie was given the opportunity to preach at St. John's. If you really want to know what she's been up to for over a year now, give a listen. She'll tell you, pay attention, it's dark outside y'all.