LOS ANGELES — They say you don’t know how someone feels until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Well, Sharis Rhodes has walked a mile or two.
And that’s why the Skid Row Shoe Drive means so much to her. As a local social justice advocate, she overcame homelessness as a single mother and knows the mental battle that takes place to get to the other side.
What You Need To Know
- Sharis Rhodes overcame homelessness as a single mother
- She established the Rhodes Foundation to help shed light on the homelessness crisis and advocate for policy change
- The recent Skid Row Shoe Drive is one of many events where Rhodes brings organizations together to help the homeless community with essentials resources
- President Biden recently signed an order stating that FEMA should reimburse municipalities 100% of what is spent on housing people in non-congregate shelters until the end of September
"It really starts with your mind," Rhodes said. "In knowing that everyday I woke up saying, 'Today is going to be a great day. I’m going to get through this. I’m going to find an apartment here. I’m going to do that, I’m going to overcome this.' And that drove my drive to get out of that situation."
Now she puts on events like these for the Skid Row community regularly, providing food, shoes, and even COVID-19 testing to keep it safe during such fragile times.
President Biden recently signed an executive order stating that FEMA should reimburse municipalities 100% of what is spent on housing people in non-congregate shelters until the end of September. While Los Angeles officials are hoping that will help, Rhodes said that just waiting for government aid is not enough. She credits the power of collaboration, bringing together organizations like The Source LA and The Pakistan Council, among others, as the driving force that ensures the homeless get what they need.
"When you come together as partnerships, everyone has their own resources, so when you come together, it’s a mesh," she said. "It coincides. It helps even more people. It also inspires and helps people know that giving back is an essential part of our lives."
Catch 21 Seafood Restaurant is one of several businesses that have been a key part of keeping the momentum of giving alive. They provide food and parking lot space to give away resources to the neighboring community. Rhodes explained that until policy change truly shifts the homelessness crisis, a commitment to continual generosity is essential for neighbors to survive.
"Consistency, just being consistent, showing up for them, letting them know that we care about them, and that they matter too."