Pink Taco on the Sunset Strip is hip, cool, trendy, and all that. Being homeless on the streets of LA is not. So, it was a little bit of an unusual juxtaposition to have hundreds of homeless and formerly homeless folks bused from various locations to Pink Taco on Thanksgiving Day.
The group PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) has been doing this for 4 years now, and this year they fed about 500 people, with a little help from Eric Garcetti, LA's Mayor, UCLA's football coach Jim Mora and a lot of his players, and the actress/activist Kristen Bell.
PATH is an umbrella type agency with about 20 different Southern California offices, which has been around for about 30 years. They get most of their funding from the Feds and have about a 25 million dollar annual budget which puts them in the middle size of these kinds of agencies.
They have a goal of getting 3000 people off the streets and into permanent housing in 2013 and 2014, so far they're about halfway there with a lot of their clients being veterans. Today I spoke with Sam Johnson (a Mom) and three of her four kids, Victoria, Daniel and Adam, who recently spent about 8 months living on the beach, literally, with no place to go, until PATH reached out to her and now she and the kids are off the streets, in their own apartment, feeling and looking good . They were at Pink Taco today helping serve the food, knowing what it used to be like on the other side of that line and giving thanks there are people who care, every day, not just Thanksgiving day.