The Sounds, the Smells and the Images of Homelessness


Images from Skid Row in Los Angeles California

     As I entered the Chapel at Los Angeles Mission, the speaker was already speaking. He was blaming the politicians for failed policies and for ignoring the issue. He was blaming the family and friends of homeless folks for ignoring them when they were hurting and, the list of those who he blamed, grew bigger. He was good and correct in partially explaining why the problem of homelessness in Los Angeles exist. However, The sound, the smell and the images of poverty in the streets of Downtown, Los Angeles are the same as everywhere; in some places more and in some places less.

“In 2017, the United States homeless population was estimated to include 553,742        people on any given night. This number includes adults and veterans living on the streets, as well as children and families living in shelters. Overall, homelessness in America has decreased by 13% from 2010 to 2017, but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development believe a substantial amount of work still remains in order to eradicate the epidemic. From a nationwide standpoint, these 15 cities have the most homeless people in America.”[1]

10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

9. Boston, Massachusetts

8. Las Vegas, Nevada

7. San Francisco, California

6. San Jose, California

5. District of Columbia

4. San Diego, California

3. Seattle, Washington

2. Los Angeles, California

1. New York City, New York

Other smaller cities with alarming homeless populations include:

5. Santa Rosa, California

4. Salinas, California

3. Huntington, New York

2. Santa Ana, California

1. Honolulu, Hawaii

     Maybe the speaker has a point in blaming the politicians; after all, all of these cities have something in common; they are all democrats and their states are historically democrat. These cities have been infected by liberalism. These liberal and progressive policies do not work against homelessness, but seems to be a magnet for it? They have a solid track record of failure.

     As representatives from over 40 Christian mission around the USA and Canada gathered for our Annual CityGate Conference,  we took that short walk from Los Angeles Mission to the Union Rescue Mission. As we walked through the famous Skid Row, we heard the profanity and the loud voices. You could feel the intimidation. There was trash everywhere and the smell of urine and human feces. I saw a man calmly turning his back, as we were passing by and, right on the sidewalk, he started urinating against a building. No shame and no concern. I saw people everywhere, massive amount of people; heavy traffic, people blowing their car horns; everybody in a hurry to go somewhere. I saw this woman yelling and accusing the white folks in our group of thinking that they were better than anybody; a cry for social justice… I guess!



Images from Skid Row in Los Angeles, California

     I am sure everybody has their story; I am sure you can’t paint everybody with the same brush. I don’t want to be insensitive; but I heard another speaker stating that at the core of homelessness is people that can’t afford housing. Even as we must take a close look at these liberal agendas and, even as we could take a closer look at the cost of housing; at the core of homelessness there are bigger and deeper issues.

     At the core of homelessness there are many broken relationships, many broken bridges, many opportunities given, many opportunities wasted and, countless times using, manipulating and abusing those opportunities. At the core of homelessness there are demonic belief systems, and mindsets that lead to destruction. At the core of homelessness there is sin, transgressions, iniquities and curses. At the core of homelessness there are traumatic experiences, physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, tragedy and the lack of preparation for the unexpected crisis of life.

     I have seen poverty before; no greater poverty than what I saw in Mexico; but poverty here in the USA is different. Even at Skid Row folks do not go hungry; these missions are there for them, to feed them every single day. In Los Angeles and around this nation, it seems like the homeless population still have enough physical energy to engage in violence. My co-workers from Fairbanks, witnessed a man getting beaten up and strip of his clothing while people just watched casually, as if this is a normal thing to see.

     In conclusion, we may not have all of the facts of the why of homelessness, but I have no doubt in my heart that the solution is Christ. That’s where I agree with the Los Angeles and the Union Missions; they get it! They seem to understand that God MUST be at the center of this impossible and overwhelming task. May the Lord continue to bless them for their work and may the truth, love, compassion and power of Christ be manifested in all rescue missions around the world.


Author: angelcasiano

An independent thinker with a profound call to see the orthodoxy of the church and passion for Christ manifesting together. Angel was born in Brooklyn, New York in April of 1968, he was raised on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico where he earned his B.S. degree in Sociology with a minor in Education from the Inter American University in San Germán in 1991. That same year he moved to Jacksonville, Florida. After working construction jobs for a year and learning the English language, his first job working with foster-care children in the capacity of youth care worker was with Jacksonville Youth Sanctuary in September of 1992. With JYS he was promoted several times as group home supervisor, legal caseworker, and program director. While in Jacksonville, Angel studied a couple of martial arts styles. After earning his black belt, he became the founder of Good Fight Ministries as he used martial arts as an instrument to preach the gospel. In 2004 Angel was selected Martial Arts Instructor of the Year for the State of Florida and in 2005 Angel was inducted in the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame where he also received the Christian Spirit Award. In July of 2005 Angel accepted his call to pastor a bilingual church in Winton, NC where he served for a couple of years. Five months later he lost his first wife to cancer in December of that same year. This initiated a deep valley of suffering in his life, a mountain of costly mistakes and the embracing of lifestyles of sin that are well documented through this blog. In August of 2012 Angel moved to Fairbanks Alaska with his wife Rayette Casiano and six children who are now adults. In Alaska, Angel continued his social work-related career and his ministry of preaching, teaching and writing. Angel is the author of two books, Hope for the divorcee: Forgiving and Moving Forward and 7 Banderas de Esperanza: La Bendición de Yokdzonot. In January 8th of 2020 Angel and his wife moved to Arizona.

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