"The perception that they have is wrong": Long Beach man combats stereotypes of homelessness

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- James Mathews has lived in the Greater Los Angeles area his entire life. It wasn't until 8 months ago that an apartment fire left him homeless in Long Beach.

"The apartment burned and from there, I didn't have a place to live," Mathews said.

Mathews attended Cal State Dominguez Hills, works several jobs, and volunteers with Long Beach Community Table, a non-profit organization that provides food and basic necessities for under-served people in Long Beach.

"I want to be a part of the solution, and not the problem," said Mathews. "I don't want to sit on the sidelines. I want to be active in helping people."

Mathews has seen all different walks of life accepting help through Long Beach Community Table.

"There's not a certain look or stereotype or description that can go with that now. It's not just dirty-faced, shoes without laces, pants that don't fit," said Mathews.

While Mathews looks for affordable housing in Long Beach, he continues to live out of his car. He is not alone, as reports from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority show roughly 50,000 people are considered to be homeless in the LA area.

"It should keep you awake at night thinking about the homeless problem, but wanting to do something about it."
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