DATA AND INFOGRAPHICS
"What's wrong with being ourselves?"
Shante believes in the power of kindness. As a gay man, Shante has experienced multiple situations of abuse but refuses to let those situations bring him down. Being kind is how he chooses to not only stand up for himself but also treat others, to which he believes is the best method for dealing with others who may judge or discriminate you for simply being yourself.
After facing multiple problems with his family and his relationships, he passionately believes in surrounding yourself with people who make you want to strive further in life, with people who support you and believe in you, wholeheartedly. Moving to Los Angeles was a big move for Shante but with the support of his boyfriend, they both continue to push each other to do what they love whether it be pursuing a cosmetology degree or performing drag at clubs.
Passionate for standing up for the LGBTQ+ community and driven to accomplish his goals of opening a salon, Shante brings optimism to everyone he interacts with. His eagerness for life inspires you to dream big and to be confident in yourself because "no one is better than you than you."
A few years ago, Jason and his wife, Monica, packed everything into their car and drove to Los Angeles, excited to kickstart his music career. With Monica as his manager, the two did everything together from recording new songs to booking concerts. This is their passion. Together they are optimistic and hopeful that good things are coming their way.
While they may not have a lot, Monica and Jason understand that the hustle can’t stop. Monica recently got a new job while Jason is currently getting his business degree. Little by little, they are determined to make their dreams into a reality.
Giving up isn't an option for Victoria. As a 5-time cancer survivor, Victoria exemplifies resilience and strength. On top of her cancer, she managed to raise four boys as a single mother. Currently, she has spent 4 years without a stable home, but with patience, she hopes to soon get off the waiting list for a nearby shelter.
As a homeless person, she receives a lot of negativity and hatred from others, calling her names and referring her as "trash." But Victoria is the opposite. She has goals and dreams and much like her attitude towards every adversity she has faced, she is determined to make her dreams come true.
Smiling, Victoria offers some wise words: “Be patient. Think of others. Look before you leap."
Eddie moved to Los Angeles and big new city… However, moving to a new city often comes with many obstacles. One being loneliness. Finding some solidarity in the teachings of Buddhism, Edward immersed himself in finding his religious identity… Although he has been practicing meditation for some time now, he claims how hard to is to be at peace with his thoughts when enduring many obstacles and factors that are associated with homelessness. Sleeping an average of four hours over a span of two nights, Edward experiences physical and mental exhaustion that sometimes makes him feel regressed. Trying to seek help, he expresses the difficulties in attaining an appointment and general knowledge about mental health services.
Stories like Edward are a reminder that although one can find joy in certain aspects, the whole soul must be nourished. As important as housing is, it cannot solve all the problems. Mental health services are crucial in order for an individual to gain the strength and courage to face a new transition of life, not just their current state… There is a need to confront a “poorly coordinated system in which mental health, general health, housing, alcohol treatment, drug treatment, and legal services are all provided by separate agencies with unclear responsibilities, high staff turnover, poor communication, and complex and sometimes mutually contradictory rules” (Harvard Health).
Shirley and TJ met over ten years ago while Shirley was working for the city in downtown LA. One of TJ's friend told him that he had to meet Shirley because he'd love her, so TJ came down to the office one day to chat her up. They hit it off immediately and have been inseparable ever since! And upon meeting them, it's easy to see why. Together, they radiate warmth and positivity from a mile away. And their positive outlook is even more admirable considering everything they have been through together. As Shirley put it, "I'd be a wreck without him." They supported each other through Shirley's mother developing Alzheimer's. In the process of taking care of her, Shirley and TJ were no longer able to afford living in LA, so they scraped together enough to put her in a nursing home and moved to Idaho. They were eventually able to find a place they could stay in exchange for working on the home they would be staying in. Unfortunately, after a few months, the landlord asked them to leave. In an effort to escape the cold of winter in Idaho, they came back to LA in search of a new start. In the face of all these hardships, Shirley and TJ still maintain an inspiring outlook, saying, "I just never want to have a hard heart" and "It doesn't matter what happens, as long as we carry ourselves with dignity and respect everyone around us"