On being homeless while operating WeHo News

April 16, 2014

By Ryan Gierach, West Hollywood, California

I was homeless for 14 months while publishing WeHo News…

Ryan Gierach (l) with his family, husband Marcus Fant and faithful companion WeHo.

Ryan Gierach (l) with his family, husband Marcus Fant and faithful companion WeHo.

Those of you who read WeHo News regularly know that I am not your normal journalist.

I come from a history background and hold a community-based POV about the news.

Although I haven’t had training by an accredited journalism school, I have spent nine years devouring all I could about ethics and reporting, always hewing to the principle that if a story strikes too close to home, I cannot write it.

Every time I approach the story of my family’s homelessness I suffer anxiety attacks, trembling so badly that typing even this small post goes slowly and taxes the spellchecker beyond reason.

One event that befell me while homeless at PATH was this hate crime, someone had scrawled "FAG" next to my door in the dead of night. They could as easily have opened my unlocked door (policy) and thrown bleach in my face or cut my throat. Photo by Ryan Gierach.

One event that befell me while homeless at PATH was this hate crime, someone had scrawled “FAG” next to my door in the dead of night. They could as easily have opened my unlocked door (policy) and thrown bleach in my face or cut my throat. Photo by Ryan Gierach.

The story is billed as the “biggest of my life” and yet I could not get past the emotions that came up as I thought about it, even nine months after leaving this place.

I’ve passed on more than a few stories in my writing career, but none caused such a reaction in me.

Still, those of you who read WeHo News know I won’t allow an injustice to go unmentioned, and if mentioning gets no response, fighting to correct it using all the tools in my considerable arsenal.

I called Jill Stewart at the LA Weekly. She assigned Gendy Alimurung, with whom I spent several sessions telling my tale.

I have to admit, even knowing how good a job the Weekly tends to do on these muckraking stories, the result surprised me.

All that said, I invite you to read… Homeless for 14 Months, WeHo News Publisher Ryan Gierach Fought Shelter’s Brutality 

What I found while publishing WeHo News while homeless for 14 months.

What I found while publishing WeHo News while homeless for 14 months.