Random Letters: 5-28-20


Coronavirus Pandemic

Like a devil out of the dark

It has wreaked havoc

It has left its mark

Its virus has no goal

It attacks the unsuspecting

Taking a tremendous toll

A toll of millions of people regardless of their worth

Striking with swift consistency

Throughout the entire earth

The coronavirus comes like a thief in the night

Its victims unaware

That they are in a lifesaving fight

Our entire world is fighting a great crisis

Which mostly strikes groups of people

And leaves a deadly virus

With over 300,000 deaths

The world is taking heed

The people are in constant quest

to find an antidote indeed

Testing is of utmost importance

To uncover the positive cases

It makes a difference in the total tested

And the virus it erases

The people quit turning their backs

On COVID-19 officials

Thus making a concerted effort

To test the virus cases

So let us give resolve

And needful prayer and resolution

As we tackle this dreaded disease

While searching for a solution

Jerry Brady, San Pedro

Life After the Pandemic

Last week, the LA Times letters editor put out a call for informal hopes/dreams for “life after the pandemic.” I submitted the following. It’s not eloquent, it’s unlikely to see the light of day, and should come as no surprise, but it’s my wish. I know you’re working on it. Thank you.

“Beds don’t bring people inside. Relationships do,” I’ve said it many times. And, I’ll add this to it: trust does. Right now, we’ve earned the trust of thousands of Angelinos facing homelessness. They were just as scared as the rest of us in mid-march. Scrambling to understand how “safer at home” could be implemented without a home. They’ve trusted us as we brought them inside in unprecedented numbers using LA Rec and Park sites, Project Roomkey…

If you’ve never experienced homelessness, spent time with, or loved a person experiencing homelessness, it’s hard to imagine why people are hesitant to come inside. Why would someone not accept a shelter bed? I could speak endlessly on this topic. On how complex (or simple) the often traumatic, isolating, and fundamentally worth-sucking road is to homelessness as well as the experience of being homeless can be. It is profoundly dehumanizing. This is why programs like rapid rehousing are so important. Every single day someone spends without a stable home makes it harder to ever imagine you’ll again be housed. Week one: your ID gets stolen, you are sexually assaulted, you decide to use to numb the pain. Bam. As the days pile up, the system has more opportunities to disappoint and fail you, your resolve lessens, the decisions you make in order to cope pile up, and you begin to accept this new reality.

Weird silver lining: This pandemic has been scary enough for some to (temporarily) cut through that trauma and baggage like a razor, bringing people inside. Giving us the biggest opportunity we’ve had thus far to keep them inside.

Thousands of people are the closest they’ve ever been to move-in ready. LA is the creative capital of the world. We must utilize the very creativity we mustered to get them inside in order to keep them there. Motels, city properties, my backyard. If any city can figure this out, it’s us.

 Amber Sheikh Ginsberg, San Pedro