a weekly basis rebuke him.
"Some want nothing, and then one day, something clicks and they
want a shower or shelter," Matias said Friday in front of Glendale
Central Library, a gathering place for homeless on the street.
Gerald Morse is among those who has warmed up to Matias.
Morse, 43, has been homeless in Glendale off and on for the past
three years, including the past five months.
He hasn't slept for a week, despite having a fresh supply of
sleeping pills prescribed by one of two doctors he sees. Morse is
reluctant to take medication for depression and schizophrenia because
he says it doesn't help.
"I do want to make a change, but I have a hard time grasping
reality," Morse said between drags off a cigarette. "I don't know
what I want to do. I take it day by day."
Matias makes regular attempts to line Morse up with housing and
mental-health counseling, but Morse, who lives on Supplemental
Security Income, won't commit.
"He's just not ready to take that next step," Matias said.
Glendale's homeless population, which leveled off in the late
1990s after nearly a decade of steady increases, is on the rise again
thanks in part to a flagging economy and could grow larger beginning
in January, when state and federal welfare reforms kick in.
DANGERS IN WELFARE REFORM
In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed legislation that imposed
strict time limits on aid and required welfare recipients to move
into the work force.
In Los Angeles County, there are about 20,000 adults at risk of
exhausting five-year time limits on CalWORKS assistance for families
with dependent children, including nearly 9,737 in Glendale. As of
May, only about 1,000 had transitioned off assistance in anticipation
of the upcoming date, according to figures provided by the Department
of Social Services.
"What was supposed to happen over the past five years was people
were supposed to prepare themselves to exit [off welfare]," Colleti
said. "That hasn't happened to the degree we were hoping. We're
seeing people who were on welfare continue on welfare."
According to Glendale Police Sgt. Mark Hansen, the face of
Glendale's homeless population has changed since the city's Continuum
of Care was started.
"A large majority of our homeless population were not Glendale
residents when they became homeless," Hansen said. "They came here
from outside the city because of the services provided."
Those services, Hansen added, have become a magnet for the
"The city tries to be responsible and do something for these
people, so they keep migrating [here]," he said.
Colleti, though, doesn't see it that way.
"I see the opposite happening since the city began implementing
more case-management services," he said. "Homeless people will not
come from another city simply to see a mental-health case manager or
a substance-abuse counselor."