A Homeless Homestead
I met Felipe Lopez Flores a couple days before his house washed away.
I was driving on Avenue 26, going under the bridge that carries the Metro tracks, when I looked to my left and saw him, arranging his house.
In open air, he had a bedroom, a dining room with a table and four chairs, a kitchen of sorts, a closet and dressers. Even a Christmas tree. He was busy sweeping his floor of rocks, and making his bed.
I stopped to talk. Mr. Lopez Flores told me he was 59, from St. Martin de Bolanos, Jalisco, Mexico. He had been in the U.S. since he was 11, and homeless for the last dozen years. He had a residency card and a sister in Glendora.
He’d scavenged his household from stuff people had left out on the sidewalk when they moved. A couple passers-by gave him some of the other things he needed. He had a small hotplate, fired by a spray-can of propane, where he cooked his eggs.
He washed his clothes in the L.A. River, a couple blocks away.
I went by later to give him some food, then returned again that night. He was asleep in his bed.
Yesterday, the heavy rains took his household away. I’ll be heading down there again to see if he needs help.