“They’re living with cancer and little else” – LA Times

Steve Lopez of the LA Times writes about a mother and daughter who living in their car.

So you think you’ve got it bad this holiday season? Here’s a story that will put things in perspective for you, no matter how grim your job prospects or how invisible your shrinking retirement fund.

The other day, at their invitation, I met Kerry Himmel, an unemployed truck driver, and her 16-year-old daughter, Destiny, at a McDonald’s on Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley. 

But they weren’t there to eat. That’s where they live.

Mr. Lopez goes on to report that Destiny was recently diagnosed with high-risk acute leukemia.  Click here to read this heartbreaking story and see how Union Rescue Mission is responding.

Los Angeles County shelters brim with families – LA Times

Jessica Garrison of the LA Times writes about the increase in families who are homeless this season.  Several individuals from Union Rescue Mission were interviewed.

The economic crisis and cold weather have created a larger than usual influx of families to shelters in Los Angeles County this year, according to shelter officials and other service providers.
On Wednesday, officials at the Union Rescue Mission, which runs the county’s cold-weather shelters, held an emergency meeting to figure out what to do when they run out of hotel vouchers for families, which could happen this month. The numbers, said Chief Executive Andy Bales, are sobering: The region’s winter shelters and the skid row mission have seen 86 families in the last three weeks.

By comparison, last year the agency took in 20 families at its emergency shelters over the entire cold weather season from Dec. 1 to March 15, with 15 to 20 more at its downtown mission. Two weeks ago, the mission downtown opened up its fifth floor to two-parent families and single fathers with children, something it has never had to do before. It may also convert its chapel to sleeping quarters.

Click here to read the article.