Veteran’s Row is a homeless encampment on out San Vicente Boulevard in the posh Brentwood district. It’s distinctive in that it is nicely kept up (for a homeless encampment), all of the tents bear American flags and they are all veterans.
The encampment along the street is a testimony to just how badly our programs to help the homeless really are. Of all people, why are these people on the street? The VA has large expansive grounds and more empty buildings than you could shake a stick at. It even has a large homeless encampment within the grounds that is well kept up, clean and safe. There is plenty of room for these vets inside where they don’t have heavy traffic running a foot beyond their doors. And the land that the VA sits on was actually donated to the administration on the express condition that it be used to house veterans in need.
There is a long standing dispute between the veterans on the street and the administration. We don’t have the particulars on that yet but we will do something more in depth on it soon. Meanwhile, we want to introduce you to Dreamer.
Dreamer is an old Native American that grew up in a trailer while traveling the Southwest farming with his family. Later in his life he went in search of the old trailer, found it, refurbished it and set it up on the grounds at the VA. Liberally decorated with American Flags and other patriotic symbols, it’s called the Freedom Barber Shop. That was over 40 years ago and he has been providing free haircuts for homeless vets ever since.
While others are neglecting the homeless situation and arguing policy, Dreamer has his sleeves rolled up. He not only gives them free haircuts, but a healthy dose of compassion and understanding… and some of his Indian, or Dreamer, philosophy to help carry them through.
Watch the video of our visit with Dreamer as he discusses how he came to be doing haircuts for the homeless and learn some of his powerful insights on life. On how to really help the homeless, how the pandemic taught him to improvise and he was out doing haircuts in the back alleys during lockdown, how we build the prisons that restrain us by ourselves… and how to escape those prisons and realize how unlimited our potential really is.
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