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Helen Hatat is Homeless in Studio City

The one-time community activist finds herself on the streets now for three weeks.

For the past year, she was a regular at the . She when she could, with her spangled earrings, heavy French accent and beaming smile.

She contributed to Studio City Patch regularly, taking photos of the , , and she helped get recognition by the Neighborhood Council.

 Now, is homeless.

For the past three weeks she has wandered Ventura Boulevard, ducking into the at Vantage, thenat night, and sometimes sleeping in She lost her job as a clerical assistant at a clinic, but still wears her office garb. Her two cats Zooey and Mocka are being housed by a veterinarian friend, but she misses them terribly.

If you’d pass Helen on the street, she wouldn’t look homeless. She has an ear clip for her cell phone and she has a borrowed laptop that helps her stay connected to Patch. 

“No one has offered to help me, I am very much alone,” she said Wednesday in front of on Ventura Boulevard as the heat was approaching 100 degrees again. “I haven’t slept very much in three weeks.”

Hatat’s story is tragic all around. A French native, she married in 1978 and moved to the area with her American husband, and they had a daughter. But her husband and daughter were killed in a car accident when they went back to France for a visit. Helen couldn’t bear staying there, and her parents have long since died.

She fell on hard times recently; she lost her place to stay where she was helping a woman, lost her job and her local church didn’t offer any help besides pointing her to city shelters.

“I was scared in the homeless shelters, they are horrible,” Hatat said. “Things were stolen from me there. I felt unsafe. It is no place for a human being.” 

Friends offered her a laptop, but not a place to stay.

“I feel like this could happen to anyone, many people are just one step away from this,” Hatat said. “I am surprised that so many people I have helped have turned their back.”

She is looking for someone with a guest house, or someone who needs help with clerical work or housecleaning until she gets back on her feet.

“I am sure some of these local celebrities may have a place for me, a room, or something,” she said. “I mean, look, this could even happen to if people stopped going to his movies, right?”

She said she would rather be homeless in Studio City because it’s safer for a single 56-year-old woman than it is in Hollywood or North Hollywood or anywhere else nearby. She won’t beg for money. She said she sells her blood for $30 to $50 a week for money for food.

For now, she still has her cell phone: (818) 714-1242 and her email: HelenHatat@gmail.com. She said she is at thein the heart of Studio City until closing time, then at She can also be reached at her Patch account here. (See the video above where she tells more of her story.)

 “You can come over to just say ‘hello’ to me, and if you have help I will appreciate it,” Hatat said. “Just don’t tell me to go find a shelter, that won’t help. And when I can, I will be helping out in the community someday again, I enjoy helping people.”

Right now, she needs a little help herself, but she’s too uncomfortable to ask for it.

Kathleen McCarthy December 03, 2012 at 09:05 AM
I think everyone is being too harsh on Richard. He was initially just suggesting that having more marketable skills is a better way for all to live. Volunteering is great & can add to your experience I truly feel badly for Helen Hatat. I have been thisclose to being on the street also after becoming disabled after 40 years of working. It is difficult out there but I also question that w/all of the people that Helen has assisted & met that someone simply hasn't opened their home to her until she is on her feet. Why so many bashing Richard & not so many taking Helen in for a stay of a week or a month to help her get on her feet. Richard is frustrated by what is going on in America & being Republican in Studio City makes us a minority. I gave & gave for years & I too just can't do it any longer. W/American's feeling as though what happened the past 4 years was acceptable & signed up for more of the same just makes it more frustrating. I think it just hit Richard @ a bad time w/everything else going on. But, before bashing him feel free to open your home to Helen until she gets on her feet. I am sure she will. She seems pleasant & has skills. I didn't realize that an employer could/would let someone go because they didn't have a roof over their head all of a sudden. I wish Helen the best & hope some of her contacts will step up to the plate & assist her during her time of need.
Helen December 27, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Thank you for your nice posting Kathleen. You know I do not expect anything anymore from anyone there. As you can see I have removed my profile, all my blogs and postings and stories from Patch. I want this video down too. I have been so disgusted during the last few months by people's attitudes, principally from a community I helped so much. I am on the streets again, but so what ... it's fine because I am do not expect anything from anyone anymore. I did not force anyone to help me. People should help because they want to not because they have to or need to or want to get something back. You help with your heart not because it will make you feel better and not so people will say how nice you are to help. I had someone who came to help me and after that he become mad at me because he could not pay his bills. This is unfair for me. If you cannot help, don't. Do not help me if you intend to blame me because you cannot pay your bills. I do not ask anything of anyone. It seems that people with money are those who help less and does not care about other people. This is why I am not going to do anything for anyone.
Helen December 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM
While I have helped a lot the SCNC, not one person ... not one of them ... called me or emailed me asking me if I needed food or anything and I find this completely disgusting after all I have done for those people. They are not the only ones. People from churches are the worst. They are very critical and judgmental. They do not seem to care for anyone until you have money to give them and put into the offering. I am not going to church anymore. If I have to stay on the streets, I will. But I am happy inside myself because I am a good person. I have references from high profile people and I am so happy with that. This is all I have to say. Do not help me if you don't want to. Help me only if your heart wants for you to do it. Christmas day I was feeding the homeless in LA even though I am one of them. Thank you.
M January 23, 2013 at 03:31 AM
HI Richard, I happen to agree with everything you have stated above, to a tee. It seems that Mitt Romney was right. There are 47% of the population who really are not looking for work, would rather collect their unemployment or welfare checks, food stamps, medi-cal, whatever they can get from Obama and the Gov't. It is only one reason why he wants to let all of the illegals stay in the USA, to get more votes. As long as our Gov't gives money away, they will vote for the liberals. Perhaps it is time to make a stand and if the liberals are so hard pressed to keep giving our hard-earned tax money away to people who are lazy or not citizens of our country, let the liberals give THEIR tax money to them, but let the others keep their tax money or put it towards viable resources that are truly needed, infrastucture, veterans benefits, military uses, social security, medicare, etc, etc. Just my two cents....
M January 23, 2013 at 03:44 AM
I agree with you Kathleen. There are a lot of frustrated people out there concerning getting four more years with the current political administration and the way our country is doing down a "rat hole", to coin a phrase. So, Richard is entitled to his opinion, just like everyone else. I believe he is in fact, correct about almost everything he has said. Maybe it could have been stated differently, but often times, the truth hurts.....

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