The lack of affordable housing is at the forefront of the homeless crisis in Los Angeles County. But the city’s annual point-in-time homeless count, released on June 1, showed that the veteran homeless population had declined 18 percent.
On this particular morning, Jesse Henderson is canvasing Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. He’s quick to point out this is not the stretch of the boulevard popular with tourists. Far from it. There’s a certain vigilance and purpose in his stride. Understandable when you learn that the 39-year-old Army veteran did two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
“Our basic job was to look for IEDs,” he says and, when on patrol they had a saying, “Sometimes we’ll find them, sometimes they’ll find us.”
Today, Henderson has found a new mission: from searching out improvised explosive devices to searching for homeless veterans on the streets of Los Angeles. He looks for clues; a tent that’s off by itself, a military blanket from the VA.