Los Angeles

HomewardLA Stages Production Dealing With Homelessness

For the next 10 days expect an explosion of live theater dealing with homelessness in Los Angeles. Every person without a home has a story and actors across Los Angeles are ready to share their personal statements, with dignity.

"My mom had me when she was 13. She became an addict. She would trade me for drugs."

They are monologues that make up HomewardLA, a group of 500 professional actors and 70 producers volunteering for 50 productions. Ticket sales will benefit The Midnight Mission on Skid Row.

LA native Martine McDonald, a first time director, says she couldn't resist.

"It sheds a light on direct needs people have, in terms of housing medical care family trauma and cycles. Violence. Addiction. They are working really hard to overcome. But I also think it's a conversation starter," she said.

The performer says street stories can transform audiences.

"We're all here together," said Mette Holt, an actor. "There is no one that should be lost. No one who should run off and don't take responsibility."

At The Midnight Mission, where some 300 people spend each night, there's plenty of gratitude for what HomewardLA is all about. There's also unrelenting need.

"The programs and resources that we have here help people regain self sufficiency, get off the streets, deal with substance use disorder problems," said Mike Arnold, the CEO of the Midnight Mission.

HomewardLA features Stacy Gadlin's story, now one year sober.

"I was homeless for six years," Gadlin said. "Court system put me in this program three years ago. I didn't stay. Left. But I came back on my own."

The director guides actors on behalf of our neighbors on the margins.

McDonald added: "I was internally shattered by how much struggle there is for blocks. But also, so inspired."

The rehearsal our camera captured takes the stage SUNDAY at 3 p.m. at The Loft Ensemble in Sherman Oaks.

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