Things That Matter

The Los Angeles Times Wrote A Story About This Homeless UC Berkeley Student And People Are Questioning His Circumstances

The California housing crisis continues to get worse.

California is in the middle of a severe housing crisis. Staggering prices for rent have left many homeless, despite having jobs or going to school. Simply, there just isn’t enough affordable housing in major California cities and residents are fighting plans for development to ease this pain to keep their neighborhoods as they are. According to the Los Angeles Times, 29 percent of Californians pay more than 50 percent of their income towards rent. The national average in 25 percent.

Ismael Chamu, a student at the University of California, Berkeley, is one student feeling the crunch of the growing housing crisis. Chamu was living in a trailer in someone’s driveway with his brother and two sisters and says he was paying $650 a month. The trailer is not connected to a sewage system and it is barely big enough for one person.

The siblings live together in Hayward and Chamu makes the commute daily to Berkeley, about 40 miles round trip. Chamu is the child of Mexican immigrants who have fallen on their own hard times, according to the LA Times. The parents have moved from place to place chasing jobs and eventually ended up living out of their car. That’s why Chamu’s sisters moved into the trailer in Hayward. Eventually, the parents followed.

Now, Chamu and his siblings are homeless again after city officials sent notice that they were not allowed to live in the trailer. The landlords who evicted them claim they never paid rent and were doing a favor for a friend at church.

“I wouldn’t be living somewhere without paying rent,” Chamu told ABC 7. “That’s a little absurd.”

All of the attention to Chamu and his family’s homeless situation has led to a fundraising campaign on YouCaring that has raised more than $80,000. But it has also brought attention to a recent felony arrest and charges that Chamu denies are legitimate.

According to Berkeleyside, Chamu was one of two people arrested by Berkeley Police Department for vandalism. Police allege that Chamu participated in spray painting graffiti on cars, buildings, and fences, as well as slashing tires. The vandalism caused $400 in damage. Chamu was originally arrested, according to police, when he was allegedly seen hiding an illegal spring-loaded knife.

Chamu said, in a now-deleted Facebook post, that the arrest was racial profiling.

“I was kidnapped by armed agents. I was humiliated. I have been traumatized,” Chamu wrote, according to Berkeleyside. “The Police racially profiled me for being Mexican. For looking like a ‘Burglar’ for appearing ‘Dangerous.’ I will never forget this.”

Berkeleyside reported that Chamu was held for 39 hours and never spoke with an attorney when he requested one. He was also never charged with a crime when he was released.

According to a current Facebook post, Chamu says he and his family have found temporary housing for the next two weeks.

READ: This Harvard-Bound South L.A. Teen Was Able To Pull His Family Out Of Homelessness

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A Beauty Company Is Using Their Holiday Ad To Call Attention To Los Angeles’s Homeless Crisis


A Beauty Company Is Using Their Holiday Ad To Call Attention To Los Angeles’s Homeless Crisis

Laura Geller’s latest holiday campaign is putting a spotlight on what makeup means to seven women experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in their “Makeup Means Something” campaign. To make “Makeup Means Something” happen, Laura Geller Beauty partnered with Beauty 2 The Streetz, a nonprofit organization founded by Shirley Rains that offers “the things that make us feel inherently human: a hot shower, a hearty meal, the hope-inducing feeling of looking in the mirror and loving what you see,” according to the nonprofit website. Laura Geller is featuring the seven cisgender and transgender women in their 2019 holiday campaign to “help dispel misconceptions and demonstrate the power of beauty,” according to a statement by Laura Geller.

The campaign video opens with black and white footage of Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. Then, Tamara’s voice telling us, “Living on skid row is really tough. You just have to be focused and keep your mind on your goals. Just because I’m homeless… that doesn’t define me.”

The women’s reactions in the video are powerful.


“It makes me feel like a human being again. It makes me feel like a special person again,” Quoitorious Bagley’s voice softly asserts as we see her pose for photographers. “All the makeup combined together is really magical. It brings out the beauty that you thought was lost within you, and lets you know that it has not left. It was always within you,” she eloquently told Laura Geller. Beauty 2 the Streetz founder Shirley Raines puts the whole experience beautifully: “You can take makeup off, but you can’t wash away the feeling it gave you. Based on what each of these seven women had to say about the experience, Raines is right. “These makeovers are really powerful. They really are very healing,” Nancy Woodward, 58, said. “Nancy’s lived on Skid Row since 2011, and is attempting to find hope in her situation.” Laura Geller Beauty said in a social media post. “It’s like a light breaking through a thick darkness and it gives you a ray of hope and you start to feel better about yourself and it’s very powerful,” Woodward said. The video aptly chooses not to convey any “before” photos of the women and just allows their spirits to shine through based on how they choose to express themselves through beauty. While we meet each of these women, we hear their voices in the background.

“It instantly brightens me up, gives me joy and happiness,” another woman said.


We are building friendships based on equality and compassion and it is this, more than simply the hair and makeup, that brings beauty to the streets,” Raines (pictured right) asserts in her nonprofit’s mission statement. So far, Beauty 2 the Streetz has been able to offer meals, showers, hair wash and color, make-up, wigs and human connection to over 400 people experiencing homelessness. “The people of skid row are just like everyone one else,” Beauty 2 The Streetz explains on their website. “They are people who have fallen on hard times who didnʼt have that lifeline to pull them out. Shirley is a beacon of hope in LAʼs ever-increasing homeless population. Every Saturday, rain or shine, she and her team come out to share a hot home-cooked meal, conversation, and most importantly connection.”

Laura Geller funded Beauty 2 the Streetz to do what it does best– remind women living on the streets of their natural beauty. “I believe that beauty is supposed to enhance, not cover up. That’s why I love my natural hair and my natural skin. This look accentuates my natural beauty,” Cherish Benham, 29, (pictured left) told Laura Geller Beauty.

Carmen Tolentino, 40, was one of the trans women that the campaign affirmed.


Laura Geller Beauty is going beyond offering beauty services. The brand is trying to raise money for Beauty 2 The Streetz by selling the limited edition tee-shirt every model is wearing. All proceeds of the Laura Geller and Beauty 2 The Streetz branded fitted shirt will be donated to the nonprofit to continue its mission to elevate spirits in the Skid Row community.

You can support Beauty 2 The Streetz by donating to the organization or buying your own collab T-shirt here.


“Laura Geller understands that everyone deserves to feel beautiful, regardless of where they lay their head at night and that’s a bold statement,” Raines said in a statement, adding that not all brands want to partner with a nonprofit that helps the homeless, “as if it’s wrong to be without.”

Watch the full video below!

What do you think about the campaign?

READ: Community In Michoacan Rallies Around Homeless Man Whose Dog Was Killed By A Hit And Run Driver

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Community In Michoacan Rallies Around Homeless Man Whose Dog Was Killed By A Hit And Run Driver

Things That Matter

Community In Michoacan Rallies Around Homeless Man Whose Dog Was Killed By A Hit And Run Driver

The community of Morelia, Mexico is rallying to help a homeless man after a searing image of the man kneeling in the street, mourning his beloved dog, has gone viral. The man, only known as Raul, had used what little money he had to keep his closest friend, named Solovino, happy and healthy. All who have lost a companion animal of their own can feel the grief as they bear witness to the tragic moment Raul is pictured kneeling over Solovino’s body in the middle of the street. A driver hit Solovino on Camelinas de Morelia Avenue, and continued driving, leaving behind a tragedy.

When the residents of Morelia saw the image, they recalled all the times Raul helped them find parking spots, and the countless times the pair were spotting gifting each other good company. Local businesses and residents are now fundraising to comfort Raul during his grieving period, and are trying to get him off the streets.

A few months ago, Solovino got lost, and Raul had peppered the city streets with flyers to help him find his friend.


According to Informando en CsN, Raul had created cards and ‘lost’ posters using whatever he could find lying around. A few weeks ago, the two were happily reunited, until Solovino’s death. Reportedly, Raul initially declined any help from passersby, stricken with grief and wanting to be with Solovino alone. Eventually, he allowed some women to help him find an appropriate place to bury dear Solovino.

One local business used its social media platform to fundraise for Raul.


“We regret the loss of Mr. Raul’s faithful friend,” posted local restaurant Mariscos El Pirata – Periferico on Facebook. “Despite his difficult situation, Raul is a very pleasant and hardworking person, and helps us some days of the week to take care of the cars parked in the surroundings of Mariscos El Pirata.” The restaurant is allowing people to use their facilities as a donation center for any food or clothes people want to bring by for Raul. “This day we will not share advertising of the restaurant, but we will make this post to ask you for your support if anyone wants to help him with food or clothes,  or whatever will return a smile to his face. Our facilities are open from 10 am to 6 pm for anyone who wants to help Don Raul. Help us share.” 

The Facebook post has received 623 shares at the time of this publication.

Neighbors are sharing the spots around town where they typically find Raul.


“From what I could investigate, he sleeps outside the Guadalajara pharmacy that is a few blocks from Mariscos,” shared Fernando Garcia. Garcia wasn’t able to find Raul, but left him clothes, a fresh blanket and some water. Unfortunately, the influx of attention on Raul has also come from folks who might not be thinking through their donations. According to locals, several people have offered Raul a puppy. Guita MeEn passed along a message from Raul, commenting on Marisco’s Facebook post to say, “Guys, awhile ago I went to leave some things to Mr. Raul and he commented that someone left him a puppy but he wants to return the puppy. He can’t offer a home to the puppy, so please, no dogs!”

Morelia residents are also furious at the unknown driver that was speeding so fast, they hit a dog. “I’ll never forget the moment I lost my dog that way,” shared Cumulus Claus, “It’s been one of the worst episodes that has touched my life. I remember that, despite everything, I was grateful he died intact :'( I believe that did not happen with [Solovino] and it must feel worse to see his body completely destroyed. I’m very sorry for what happened and I hope the driver has a pinch of consciousness and decrease the speed when driving to have better capacity to respond when a live being crosses his way in the future…”

Others are calling on Marsicos to offer Raul a stable job.


“What a nice gesture,” Monserrat Calderón commented on the restaurant’s willingness to become a donation center for Raul, “but you should help him by giving him the stable work.”

You can mail donations to Mariscos El Pirata at El Mirador del Punhuato, 58249 Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. Rest in Peace, sweet Solovino.

READ: This Mom Has Gone Viral For Making and Passing Out Hundreds of Tortas to Mexico’s Impoverished Citizens Every Week

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