Spare Change

Dear Friends & Colleagues, 

       Los Angeles is famous for celebrities, Beverly Hills, high-end boutiques, beaches and beautiful flawless people, On the opposite side of the same coin there exist an undercurrent of gang violence, drug addiction, illegal immigrants and homelessness that plagues the city and its residents.  

A couple years ago I walked by a man on Wilshire and Flower who was lying on the ground. I immediately assumed he was dead. After examining his body sprawled out on the ground I was overcome by his inner peace, calmness and form. A tranquil moment removed from his usual turbulent and chaotic existence. 

The series ‘Spare Change’ is my personal response to the Homeless situation in downtown Los Angeles. I’ve been documenting the homeless population in LA on my IPhone for over 2 years. All the subjects in the series were captured while sleeping and completely unaware of my presence. 

I’ve always been curious to how and why people become homeless.  I was homeless myself at 16. I ran away from home to escape the emotional and physical abuse of my crack cocaine addicted Stepfather. I slept in 24-hour porno movie theatres, rooftops, park benches, stairwells and subway trains. No family, no friends, no money and no food. As a 16 year-old runaway I realized anyone could be homeless. 

50% of the homeless population is insane and should be institutionalized. The other 50% can be rehabilitated but there is nothing available long-term for them so they turn to panhandling, drugs, alcohol, to survive in the streets instead of falling prey in crime infested shelters. 

It took me a while to become aware of enormity of the homeless situation in L.A. because in the beginning I ignored it like everyone else. If I was in a good mood I would talk to them briefly in passing, give them a couple of dollars or my leftovers. Nothing more, just enough too survive another day. Then after you experience the magnitude of the neglect block after block and day after day it begins to take a toll on your soul. We are all connected whether we like it or not. His misery is my misery, his failure, is my failure.  What should really scare the hell out of society especially the 99% of us who live check to check is that we are one sickness, one firing, one eviction away from being homeless ourselves. 

I implore you to click on this link ( if you can spare 30 minutes of your time to watch and listen to these human beings in their own words describe their struggles, hopes and solutions in regards to being homeless on the streets of Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). 

Thank you for your continued support. 

Best Regards,

Terrence Sanders 

*Please forward this link to one person and together we can change the World one person at a time. We cannot afford to remain detached and continue to ignore this epidemic of epic proportions.