Surviving on the streets is hard enough as it is. But I spent more than four years out there paralyzed in a wheelchair.
I know it was my own fault. I’ve been angry my whole life, fighting and running in gangs.
Using drugs and going to jail. Growing up in Mexico, I even fought my own siblings. All of them. It got so bad, my parents sent me to the United States.
In 2008, it kinda caught up to me. I got shot by another gang and ended up in a wheelchair. I begged for quarters on the sidewalk or sold candy for a few bucks to buy some food — and alcohol and drugs. Sometimes I lived in a tent on the sidewalk, other times I lived in a storage unit. In the winter, I can’t tell you how many times I went to bed wet and freezing. And I reeked because I rarely bathed. But thanks to crystal meth and crack, I didn’t care. My rage at life and addiction to drugs numbed me from everything else.
After years of living like that, I got tired. By early 2012, I knew I needed help and finally came to Union Rescue Mission. I let go of the drugs and held a Bible in my hands. That felt strange. The chaplains and counselors here helped me learn to control my anger. They also introduced me to an all-powerful God who holds my hand and is changing my life. I’ve even reconciled with my siblings and my mother came to visit me for the first time in 20 years! I’m also learning to walk again!
I would like to thank Union Rescue Mission and all the donors for changing my life!
Tonight, more than 58,000 people experiencing homelessness will struggle to survive the Los Angeles streets. Without shelter, they suffer from cold-related illnesses, vulnerability to predators and crime, and worse. People don’t live on the streets of Los Angeles — they die there.
Your gift will provide hot meals, love, and life transformation.
During the cold winter months, Union Rescue Mission offers hurting people a warm bed — and more. Your generous gift provides precious souls with warm meals, access to life-transforming programs and resources — and love that gives them the courage to give life another chance.
So please send the most generous gift you can today. Thank you!
I remember when, just a few short years ago, the numbers of people living outside on the streets of Skid Row were dropping. In fact, there was a time when the number had dropped all the way down to 600 — which is still tragic, but far better than the thousands of people living on these streets 15 years ago.
But over the past few winters, all that changed. In 2008, people starting losing jobs and their savings. Then our prisons started releasing more inmates to these streets, just as government services started eroding. Now the number of people living on the sidewalks and back alleys on Skid Row has exploded to more than 1,400. And across our city of angels, more than 58,000 people are experiencing homelessness every night.
This winter they face bone-chilling rain, sleepless nights, weather-related sicknesses, and some will even die. It’s not right. Union Rescue Mission offers hurting men and women on these streets the chance to escape the cold and change their lives permanently. Our love, care, and humanity for hurting people demands it. On behalf of Guillermo, whose story appears on page 1, and all the others who have escaped these streets, thank you.