The holiday seasons and cold temperatures all challenge homeless people on downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row. KPCC’s Patricia Nazario spoke with one man about how he gets through it.
With his girlfriend, Ron Knoblock has lived in a tent for two months.
“We do our Bible every night together," says Knoblock. "We stay clean. You can see this is all our stuff, our blankets and everything."
The 44-year-old points to two shopping carts piled high with blankets and plastic bags. The former bricklayer from Detroit says they keep valuables close when they pack up every day. They get by on $442 a month in general relief benefits.
“What we did this month is we bought the tent, we bought our blankets. She bought a phone, because she needed a phone. We bought... clothing, we bought all kinds of stuff, plus me and her gets $400 a month on food stamps."
They use that money to buy personal care supplies and midnight snacks. Knoblock says he’s been drug and alcohol free since the early '90s. His 40-year-old girlfriend has been clean since they connected a couple of months ago.
The couple says that’s not typical for most people who live on Skid Row. They say attending events like holiday meal celebrations at missions also steers them too close to the life they’re trying to leave behind.