While Los Angeles has been called “the homeless capital” of America, Thousand Oaks has been shielded from becoming a city strewn with tents like those seen around LA. But the growth of homeless individuals and families is clear. Visit the North Ranch Mall or Westlake Plaza and you are sure to see a disheveled person with a sign or “playing” a violin.
For years, Jean (the middle aged blonde-haired woman) and Bob (the middle aged, red headed bearded man) perused the city
and many of us would buy them coffee or needed items. In speaking to both, they were clearly both mentally ill. They had no family. There was not much we could do but check in on them. From my days working in homeless ministry, I know that you can continually check on them, talk with them, and do what you can to help provide needed items they may not be able to afford.
But now there has to be around 10-15 regulars that we see. At Trader Joe’s or Sprouts in Westlake is the man (and sometimes his family) that pretends to play the violin while a portable radio is actually making the music. There’s a mother with her kids that stays over by Bank of America on Westlake Blvd. There’s now a Veteran that has been seen a few times over by Ralph’s in the North Ranch Mall. There is always someone over by McDonald’s on Thousand Oaks Blvd.
I think we have come to that point where we need some help from our city. Whether these are locals or people coming in from Los Angeles, this is a real challenge that deserves the attention of our elected officials.
Anonymous Thousand Oaks Resident