From an Eagle Rock Mom:
“Lately, my kids and I have been coming across quite a lot of homeless people. The other day, my daughter and I were heading to the Chase Bank branch on Eagle Rock Boulevard. Outside, sitting on the ground, were a young mother and her toddler daughter near the bank’s entrance.
“They looked Latino, so I spoke to them in Spanish. It turned out they were actually Italian, from Rome (or so the mother said) and had come here on tickets an American acquaintance had somehow bought for them. The woman said she left her job at a pizza parlor in Rome and flew to L.A., thinking it would be easy to pick up work in a restaurant.
“The woman also said that she and her daughter had emigrated (illegally) here and that she was able to find only two days’ paid work every week as a cleaner for a woman in Glendale. To make ends meet, she said she had to sit in front of the bank and ask for handouts.
“Eagle Rock people were extremely kind. In the short time I was there, at least four people handed the mother either cash or donations of fast food (Kentucky Fried Chicken, donuts, food from Panda Express) bought from stores in the shopping mall.
"Beyond handing her a few dollars, I didn’t know how else I could help her—and it certainly appeared as though she really needed a lot of help to get on her feet in America.
“When we left, my 7-year-old daughter was understandably upset. She asked me lots of questions about where the mother and daughter lived, how the little girl went to school, and where they stayed when it rained.
“I didn’t really feel very prepared to answer such questions. So my questions to Eagle Parents are:
1) How do you speak to your kids about homeless people?
2) Is handing them money helpful? Is there a better way to help?
3) Would you ever hire—or have you ever hired—a homeless person to help around the house? If so, how do you approach the topic in conversations both at and outside your home?
4) What employment possibilities are available to people who lack the legal documents to work or stay here?”