Stories From California

The Logistics Of Homelessness


"I lived here about four years. I understand the logistics of homelessness. You are trying to find a bathroom, brushing your teeth, just those little things. I mean, YOU'RE ON A SIDEWALK!
One thing that makes me happy is to find this person who would not have reached out to me, and I reached out to them, and turns out they needed help. I like to find those people."
Shanae Cannon, outreach worker at C3, a homeless service on Skid Row

I remember when I first came to Los Angeles as a reporter for German public radio, my first assignment were the Oscars. I reported about diamond studded shoes on the red carpet, gift bags, glitz and glam, poolside junkets under palm trees. A few weeks later I was on Skid Row, homeless capital of Los Angeles. Wow! It was like enering a different universe!  


The newest numbers leave no doubt: homelessness is at everybody's doorstep in Los Angeles. Meet one woman who works among hundreds to change that reality and find a roof over the heads for the most vulnerable: Shanae Cannon.

She lived in Las Vegas, lost her job as a case worker for a social service, could not pay the rent, moved to Los Angeles, hoping for better opportunities in the non profit sector. Turns out, she was right. She found a job. It only took her living four years on Skid Row to get it. Tough apprenticeship, I'd say.  

I met Shanae while I was producing just another story about homelessness in Los Angeles. It is always the same and always different to come down to Skid Row. I will never get used to it. I found inspiring stories of strength and beauty, and I found depressing stories of downward spirals. I live in this city for 14 years now and have heard every promise you can think of to end homelessness. Meeting people like Shanae makes me a little more optimistic that things might get at least a bit better by next year. Keeping my fingers crossed that she finds more of those who do not reach out but can use a little help. 

please send your comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.