Imagine going to work every day knowing that people you're trying to help might hide from you. And even when they ask for help, you're likely not able to offer the thing they most need. And no matter how hard you work, the ultimate problem you're tasked with solving keeps getting worse.
This is the challenge for hundreds of homelessness outreach workers who fan out every day across Los Angeles. As the number of unhoused people keeps going up, L.A. has hired more such workers to try and connect them with social services, and eventually permanent housing. Although there's not nearly enough of that to go around.
The HOPICS outreach team checks on people living under a highway bridge in South Los Angeles on Sept. 21. Grace Widyatmadja/NPR
November 11, 20237:01 AM ET
By Grace Widyatmadja Jennifer Ludden