Heavy Rain: A Challenge for Our City and Also For Our Homeless Brothers and Sisters

It’s been raining all day here in Los Angeles. Not a sprinkle, but rather a hard rain which is very uncharacteristic of this arid climate. There are blizzards up in the mountains and road conditions have been hazardous. Ray and I have stayed home all day and encouraged our kids to be somewhere safe, not out on the roads. LA drivers are not used to rain and I’m sure there have been countless accidents today. Still, we need this rain and I find myself happy to be warm and snug inside listening to the pitter-patter of this storm.

When we first moved to LA, Ray and I were amused by the dramatic reactions of Angelinos to what we thought of as a light shower. We’d take our kids to school and see mothers decked out in full rain gear as if a hurricane was heading our way. We’d watch the news during a rain shower and chuckle at headlines such as “Storm Watch 2000!” And yet, having lived here 28 years, we have grown a bit savvier to the hazards that are present when the rain comes to our fair city. For example, since much of LA is built on clay, there is a lot of water run-off, which leads to flooding. This makes traveling on surface streets a lot more hazardous. Also, since we get so little rain as a rule, nobody – NOBODY – has a clue how to drive and there’s an inordinate amount of sliding due to the oil-slick roads. This, of course, leads to more accidents. And it is true if you’re not used to getting wet very often, there is a natural tendency to feel the need to wear rain boots or grab an umbrella. Not quite to the level of some of the folks at our kids’ school, I will admit, but I am a bit less judgemental than when we first arrived here.

We have another day of rain tomorrow, then a break, and then more coming next week. Our lakes and rivers are happy, the plants and trees are happy, and most people are happy too knowing we’re beating back our drought at least a bit. That’s all good and I’m happy too. I am also grateful that I have a warm and dry place to be, Our city’s growing homeless population is certainly suffering during all of this. It’s not just wet but also cold. Yet another reason we must figure out viable ways to get these folks off the street and into affordable and decent housing. Our new mayor has been tackling this very difficult issue and our governor is working hard to provide funding so we can make a dent in this problem. After all, with housing prices so high in Los Angeles and San Francisco, there are new people slipping through the cracks every day. The rain, as badly as we need it, creates new problems for marginalized people who live outside.

As I head upstairs now to my warm bed, I can’t help but think of those who do not have that luxury. My heart goes out to them.

Dear Lord, thank you for the many blessings of this life. For my family, my friends, my health, and prosperity. I pray for all those who are suffering tonight as a result of this extreme weather. Watch over them, Lord, and keep them dry and safe. Help our community leaders and our government to find ways to combat this growing problem of homelessness. Help us to open our hearts to guidance so that we can come up with positive solutions to this problem that is overtaking our cities. I offer these prayers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Judy Alter says:

    Len, Los Angelenos driving on rain-slick road is probably akin to the problem of Texans trying to drive on snow and ice–I’m sure you’re familiar with that problem. Bless you for your concern for the homeless–I wish we had more of that in Texas, and I share your prayer.

  2. Thank you, Judy. Having worked with our church’s “Breakfast Club,” feeding the homeless once or twice monthly for 20 years, these folks are not faceless to me. They are real people who for whatever reason have found themselves in these dire straits. There but for the grace of God go I.

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