The Homeless Guy on the Lawn

Loren Kantor
4 min readJul 20, 2023
The Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles.

I first noticed the blue Tyvek tent while driving to work. It was tied to a sycamore tree outside our apartment, stretching from the sidewalk to the edge of our lawn. When I returned home, I saw the homeless man. He looked to be in his 30s, white, a bit pudgy. He was asleep, half in and half out of the tent. I parked in the rear carport where my neighbor Joseph greeted me.

“Can you believe that prick,” Joseph said. “The balls on that guy.”

“Who,” I asked.

“The homeless guy in front. I called the police but they said there’s nothing they can do unless he threatens us or commits a crime.”

“Did he threaten you?”

“His presence is a threat. His stink is a threat. I pay thousands for rent and this guy wants to squat for free?”

Joseph lived upstairs with his wife, infant daughter and their husky named Luna. He worked for Netflix as a social compliance officer. Though he was much younger than me, we bonded over basketball and the Lakers.

We live on a busy street in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles. Homeless folks are common in the area. Usually they stay a few days then disappear. Tenants enter their units from the back behind a locked gate. There are security gates in front of each door and plenty of motion sensor lights.

That night, there was a text thread from the neighbors discussing the situation. Everyone had a different opinion. Kai, a furniture designer from Orange County, wanted a group of us to approach the man and demand he leave. Wyatt, an NFT broker and digital artist, said we should turn on the sprinklers. Kayla, a makeup designer from San Diego, asked if anyone had contacted the landlord. The landlord, who was on the thread, said she’d initiated a trespassing complaint with the city but it might take 30 days. Ricardo, a hairdresser from Mexico, said he brought the man food and water. This prompted an angry text from Joseph:

Don’t give him money! He’ll buy drugs!

He’s just a kid, Ricardo replied.

He’s old enough to be dangerous.

You’re being irrational, Ricardo said.

How do you know he’s not going to start masturbating in front of your window, Joseph…



Loren Kantor

Loren is a writer and woodcut artist based in Los Angeles. He teaches printmaking and creative writing to kids and adults.