“There’s always an internal struggle. As a photographer, I want to capture the moment because my job is to tell the story. As a human, the agony can be too hard to watch. Some don’t know they need help or that help exists.

I have sympathy for the poor. I don’t judge them now that I’ve seen so many people in dire situations from different circumstances and have heard about their lives. Many times I’ve tried to comfort them with encouraging words.”

What Hong shows us through his lens is a collection of people living raw, destitute lives in a place the Los Angeles Times describes as “a Dickensian dystopia in downtown Los Angeles.” There are many people there — some because of economic reasons and some for mental health reasons. But what is certain is that the sight of so many people without a place to live is a heart-rending one, as you can see through Hong’s images here.

source: Kenneth Dickerman: Heartbreaking scenes of homelessness from a ‘national disgrace’

Jae C. Hong, AP photographer