A homeless and handicapped Eagle Rock native who was cleared out by the LAPD from a tree-shaded traffic island last month is back on the same spot—and is willing to stop living on the streets if he has enough money to pay a deposit and the first month’s rent on a one-room apartment.
Bobby Hise has resumed camping on a rectangular piece of land on the northeast corner of Eagle Rock Boulevard and York Boulevard less than six weeks after Senior Lead Officer Craig Orange asked him to leave, evidently because his presence there was causing unsanitary conditions.
Why This Intersection?
Eagle Rock Patch caught up with Hise on Wednesday morning. He said he had moved about a block and a half away on Eagle Rock Boulevard and that his first night back on the traffic divider facing the store was on Monday. He likes the spot on the intersection of two major boulevards and Alumni Avenue because it’s centrally located and he can “get around everywhere,” Hise said.
Hise was seated on a makeshift mattress on the ground, reading a copy of the Los Angeles Times. His belongings were scattered all around him, most of them piled into two shopping carts. A third shopping cart stood empty nearby, parked next to Hise’s wheelchair.
Asked what he’d do if the LAPD asked him to vacate the area again, Hise replied: “I’ll just come back and keep coming back.” He added: “They don’t have the resources to f**k with me.”
How He Gets By
An alumnus of , Hise said he makes enough money to survive by picking trash and helping college students from as far as Caltech polish up the prose on their term papers. Speaking impeccable English, he said that students these days have “great technical skills but not the language skills.”
He also gives personal fitness training lessons, said Hise, adding that both his father and he were Olympic weightlifters. In addition, said Hise, he gets “minimum social security.”
But his income is never enough to allow him to live off the streets, Hise said. “The moment you save enough money some expense or the other comes up,” he said, explaining that among other things, he has medical bills to pay. He can only move around in a wheelchair or on crutches—the result, Hise said, of a car crash that he had on Colorado Boulevard, near , in 1988.
Hise said he inherited a house from his father on Avenue 43. But the Department of Social Security forced him to sell it as a precondition for his Social Security benefits because the house had 210 feet of stairs. “They said I couldn’t climb the stairs, although I was able to scoot up backwards on my buttocks,” he said.
His father was a Native American orphan who was adopted, said Hise. Unlike his father, who was a veteran, Hise said he didn’t serve in the military. “Somebody put in the papers that I’m a veteran, [but] I was never in the military,” Hise said, adding that he wasn’t drafted because he was the only son of a World War II veteran and that he was convicted of possessing marijuana as a youth.
Pondering a Life Off the Streets
On September 1 this year, said Hise, he will turn 66 years old. He has two sons—one in North Carolina and another in Southern California’s Conejo Valley. Asked if his sons help him financially, Hise replied: “I don’t need their help.”
But if he could afford it, he’d be willing to rent a room somewhere, including in the home of his son in Conejo Valley, Hise said.
Asked how much money it would require to make that possible, Hise said about $1,000 would enable him to pay a deposit and the first month’s rent. He could meet the rest of his expenses with his Social Security money, he said.