Monday, January 22, 2018

The Saint of Skid Row...Marine Who Was Homeless Too

The saint of Skid Row: How Marine veteran, 67, who became a homeless alcoholic after the death of his wife transformed his life and has spent 15 years helping the masses of huddled on LA's sidewalks
The Daily Mail
By Regina F. Graham For
22 January 2018
The Marine veteran previously was an alcoholic living on the streets following the death of his wife, Lois, more than a decade ago. That left him feeling lost, and even more so after two of his fingers were severed when he fell off a building while working as an electrician.

Blassingame (right) has provided hundreds and hundreds of people with a labyrinth of resources including finding showers, hot meals, clean clothes, social services, medical or dental treatment, drafting resumes for those seeking employment and more
Wendell Blassingame has dedicated his life to helping the homeless on Skid Row
The 67-year-old sits at a table inside San Julian Park and tells people where to find showers, hot meals, clean clothes, housing, drafting resumes
The Marine Veteran used to be a homeless alcoholic in the area until he turned his life around and decided to work for those in need in Skid Row
His efforts are needed even more now since homelessness increased 26 per cent in 2017 as one in four homeless people in America live in the city
Wendell Blassingame has found his purpose in life: helping others in the City of Angels.

For the past 15 years, the 67-year-old can be found sitting at a table inside Skid Row’s San Julian Park where he helps anyone who needs it, free of charge.

He has provided hundreds of desperate people find access showers, hot meals, clean clothes, social services, medical or dental treatment. He has even drafted resumes for those seeking work.

‘I’m in the business of trying to set an example as a resource assisting individuals with housing and anything else they might need,’ Blassingame told while sitting at his table in the crowded San Julian Park.

‘Last year I placed 159 people in housing by myself. I’ve dedicated my life to make this a community.’

His valuable and selfless work in Skid Row is needed even more now: homelessness in Los Angeles rose 26 per cent in 2017 as one in four homeless people in America live in the city, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Homelessness in Skid Row has long been an issue for California dating back to the 1930s where an estimated 10,000 people were living on the streets in the community. Historical articles during that time period state that many of the transient people worked as seasonal laborers. Over the years, officials and police have conducted several crackdowns on vagrants which resulted in hundreds of arrests, but the problem still persists.
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