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.

Richard H August 31, 2012 at 03:14 AM
It is sad to see so many people agreeing with Helen and her plight. While I understand that it can be hard for anyone in life, we all have obstacles to overcome and America is the best place to do it. Maybe if we stop feeling sorry for people who choose a life as a "community activist" and start asking questions like "How will a 'career" choice like that feed me and my family?", we will begin to understand what is going terribly wrong in this country. It is still better to be homeless or down on your luck here in America than in China, Turkey, Nigeria or any number of other places. And as far as George Clooney goes, maybe you liberals should travel to Italy and learn more about good old George. While he talks a great liberal game in supporting Obama and other liberal agenda, he lives in Italy with his money most of the time. It is easy to support Obama when your own money isn't at stake. It's time for some tough choices and for many to realize that we all need to WORK for a living no matter how bad the job is. The welfare money is running out and if those of us who pay for these costs have our way, it will all come to an end very quickly. We are all in this together as Obama likes to say so it is time for people like Hellen to do her part and get a job that requires real work. Her's and Obama's community organizer days are over. I am not being condescending here, I am telling you how the tax paying half of the country is feeling.
Richard H August 31, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Helen, My question to you is "Define work" and what you think you should be paid for it based on your education and skill? I don't know why I have chosen to pick on you personally given your tough situation but I feel that many people simply don't understand what is really going on in America. New skills are needed to earn a living wage and I fear too many Americans are looking to the car companies, big business and unions from a bygone era to "bail them out" again.
Richard H August 31, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Karma is a bitch? What is so bad about trying to make someone realize that maybe their path was the wrong one? Community activist is not a career or job that pays any real money. Honestly, I think it is liberal views and weakness that are the real evil here and sweeping across America. It is time to wake up and face some tough choices before it is too late.
Steve W August 31, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Richard, you're a sad excuse for an American. Just as bad, you apparently haven't got the ability to read. Helen isn't making excuses, and I didn't get the feeling she's without skills. She seems happy to work, if someone would take the chance on her. I'm guessing you were born in the U.S...right? Helen immigrated to this country, and I suspect was living an unassuming existence, only to find herself suddenly, and in one fell swoop, without her family. Despite some of the worst traumas that could befall someone, Helen chose to spend time volunteering. Community activist? Nope...you read that wrong as well. Helen is just a humanitarian with a desire to do positive things. The real tax-paying half of this country, like me--the ones who do so gladly, without whining, like you--are inspired by people who volunteer their time and energies on projects most of us wouldn't be interested in doing. No...Helen is apparently just a good soul, with a desire to help others...something you could take a lesson from. So, until we see you at a Studio City Neighborhood Council meeting, you should keep your politics to yourself, stop dwelling on Mr. Clooney (talk about turning a phrase to your liking), and stop mistaking interest in our fellow man for liberalism.
Carol McGovney August 31, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Richard H, I also find you heartless and out of touch. I have been in and out of work for several years. Right now is one of those down times. I started babysitting in my middle class neighborhood at 10 or 11 years old, worked part time after school in an office at 16 then full time after graduating from high-school taking evening college classes. In my 40+ years working, putting a husband through college I can't believe your implication that people that are out of work are thus because of laziness. Bravo to you that you have no worries and shame on you for your lack of compassion. I have reached out to Helen with what might be a job lead for her.
Steve W August 31, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Richard, you're a sad excuse for an American. Just as bad, you apparently haven't got the ability to read. Helen isn't making excuses, and I didn't get the feeling she's without skills. She seems happy to work, if someone would take the chance on her. I'm guessing you were born in the U.S...right? Helen immigrated to this country, and I suspect was living an unassuming existence, only to find herself suddenly, and in one fell swoop, without her family. Despite some of the worst traumas that could befall someone, Helen chose to spend time volunteering. Community activist? Where did you come up with that label? Certainly not from her story. Nope...you read that wrong as well. Helen is just a humanitarian with a desire to do positive things. The real tax-paying half of this country, like me--the ones who do so gladly, without whining, like you--are inspired by people who volunteer their time and energies on projects most of us wouldn't be interested in doing. No...Helen is apparently just a good soul, with a desire to help others...something you could take a lesson from. So, until we see you at a Studio City Neighborhood Council meeting, you should keep your politics to yourself, stop dwelling on Mr. Clooney (talk about turning a phrase to your liking), and for pity's sake: stop mistaking an interest in our fellow man for liberalism.
LA Momma August 31, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Richard H: When you ask, doesn't anyone in this country have pride anymore? The answer is yes ! I am proud to live in a country where I can hope that one day my LGBTQ community will have equal rights, where women are free to choose and government steps in to provide for others instead of forcing people like Helen to have to rely on the so-called CHARITY of those who begrudge them help. Yes, raise my taxes so that we don't have homeless people, hungry children, wounded veterans because I hate to think what would happen if we had to rely on the charity of strangers.
beth hilton August 31, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Richard, did you go off topic to satisfy a political rant, or, do you not have basic reading comprehension skills? What would I suggest? I'd suggest first focusing on the wellbeing of the person, not blowing up the problem into rhetoric. Yes, I want job training programs for whoever wants them, and if that's your issue, God Bless, go get 'em, and take it all the way to Sacramento! I also suggest everyone here visits our homeless shelters - if you can find one - to see their extreme limitations. Next, visit a place like The Weingart Center (a program dedicated to ending the CYCLE of homelessness), and see what should be the MODEL for shelters in every community, the kind our tax money AND private business should help to fund for the benefit of all. Most shelters are not safe for women, many won't even accept them. Many suburbs send their homeless downtown, but the women and children are turned away when they get there because it is too dangerous, put on a bus back to the suburbs. Drive thru the area near 5th & San Pedro any afternoon, and you'll see why...you'll see sights you've never thought possible, as people are forced outside in daytime so the shelters don't gain any permanent residents; it looks like something from an apocalyptic film. There are 51,000 homeless individuals living on the streets of Los Angeles, making the City of Angels the ‘Homeless Capital’ of the United States. Is Helen's "attitude" the problem? I think not. Visit: http://www.weingart.org
RICHARD H. seems to be different from Richard Hogan so for RICHARD H. You are one sad, bitter person who seems to have too much time on hands to keep fueling fire. Your writings are horrific. If you and your wife truly helped in the past, you would NEVER write the c--- you are taking out on poor Helen. Leave her and her supporters alone, it is not about you and the more you write the more ignorant your rants are. Forget about the political bull----! It is not about politics. IT IS ABOUT A CAPABLE AND ABLE PERSON WHO LOST EVERYTHING AND HOW PEOPLE WHO IF EVEN HAVE A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS HAS MORE THAN SHE HAS NOW. A 5'6 women can live on a person's couch, extra space on the floor, the bathroom floor or a backyard. NOBODY WITH A ROOF has any excuse not to help. Next time you drop $4.00 for some overpriced coffee think of reality of Helens, the veteran on the street with rags, or a able person whom "real" friends will not help because she was forced to spend a night on the street not the comfort of under a roof and now is know as a homeless person. She is now labled and devalued in the eyes of most people. Yesterday middle class now devalued! The truth is people even good people say they are able to help but please-a kind word does go a long way but people can do more, it is a choice! So for someone Ricahard H, You just forget your political rants and get real because with your personality, you are no good and I hope if you lose everything someone will be willing to help.
Ursula Holloman August 31, 2012 at 08:33 PM
I read the Patch story on Helen yesterday, got in touch with her, and had the pleasure of her company in my home last night. She's a lovely person and a responsible house guest. She has a lifetime of work behind her, and is smart, organized and motivated. Helen will bounce back quickly. I hope others out there will extend a hand to this capable woman as she pulls her life back together.
Marie Brown August 31, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Richard H: You are one of the nastiest, cruelest, and most selfish people I have ever read about. Your selfish attitude of "To hell with everyone else - I've got mine" does not belong in our community, or anywhere else. To Helen: I am very saddened to learn of your predicament. I wish you all the best, and you are in my prayers.
Mike Szymanski August 31, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Thank you Ursula! Please send along a photo of yourself and Helen and keep us all up on her progress. Thank you!
This is my last time to comment on the subject. I log in daily to see how Helen is doing. I feel there unfortunatly is so much written in response to our one friend (lol) and his politics rather than postings about Helen. Helen has a borrowed computer and thanks to Starbucks who has electricity I can see if she is around and o.k. I have to say I have been in touch with her and she had stayed in my home. She is keeping herself so well kept and clean. I can't understand how she has kept herself together with all this going on. I am worried about her cell phone service turning off and her living on the street. I had offered for her to use my address for purposes she feels fit and a contact address for job hunting. I snuck money in her bag before she left which put's some food in her mouth but she would not ask for anything and I at least wanted her to have something and if she was given money she would be ashamed. I understand people are calling her from the patch posting but she is scared because she meets people in Starbucks but she needs help with work, I know food, and transportation like bus card or money to get around could help. If anyone has connections, please help. She does not know I am writing this but I see what is happening and Patch is soooo influential there has to be someone who needs translations in other languages, housecleaning, childcare which she is great with kids. Conversation and maybe company or meal to pass her time seems to make her happy.
Well said Sheri. The problem is he is now getting attention not Helen!
robert September 01, 2012 at 08:50 PM
She should go to Craigslist. Go to Los angrlrs jobs section and type in what she is looking for. I typed in nanny in the search box and found a lot of people looking for nanny's
robert September 02, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Your welcome. sorry for the typos lol. sometimes i use my cellphone and its really hard to edit. I would look everyday and make sure your one of the first to reply to the ads. Yes, there are allot of weirdos on that website.
george September 05, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Richard H probably thinks our military is securing our freedom also, when in fact, they have killed over a million innocent civilians in Iraq alone since 2003. This isn't an issue about liberals or conservatives, it's about living things, human or otherwise, and our willingness to dispose of them for reasons even we don't understand. Richard, I hope you get a dose of reality so you can come out of your haze. Yes, being homeless here is better than just about anywhere in the world, but we have a gov't spending our taxes on killing machines for our military, and celebrities throwing money away on dog houses the size of some apartments. Do some research on how we've treated each other throughout the centuries, gain some new perspective, broaden your horizons.
ely more September 10, 2012 at 10:23 AM
Helen, you need to contact the dept. of public social services who will help you with $, finding a job, and food stamps (some fastfood places, eg, pizza hut, pollo loco, etc. accept food stamps). This is no time for silly pride, it's a time for survival. You may have had many friends, but apparently not many of them are worth a damn since they are not willing to take you in in your time of need. Yeah, Jessica and the other lady took you in for 1 night each, but come on, 1 night, ladies? And then what? You're obviously able to do more, ie, extended stay until she gets on her feet! I also lost my job after 30+ years of stable employment, so there but for the grace of God... After 100s of job application and 3 years of constant searching, I still have not found a job. As for Richard H, he's obviously a hypocritical right-wing a##h##e, so nothing that comes out of his piehole is worth listening to! Oh, BTW, Lily Tomlin owns an apt. building on the corner of Laurel Canyon and Ethyl in SC. How about it, Lily, can you help? Good luck, Helen, and best wishes to you.
Helen actually lived with me for over a week. Beginning the night I found out on my FB as she was a "Friend". She has a more stable place to live thanks to someone on patch. It may be -possibly short term unless she can support the rent long term and she still needs help to put her career together and move forward. As for her job, hopefully next time she is employed, she will handle her "Homelessness" better so they are more informed. Please do not disrespect me as I have done more for Helen wether accepted or not and I know she probably does appreciate it. There are people I agree who can do more but when someone has phones, computer, storage ect., and not digging for food from a trash can.Others think twice. Helen is no longer with me since she moved to her place so she has a good start thanks to myself and a few people concerned on patch. Old news.
Personal letter to Helen don't write things you can't support. I will now partake in this drama today only. It is not proper to create drama online about people who help you. You were very lucky someone like me allow you in my home. It was not right for you in on Patch by name due nobody here knows me personally and you are showing yourself. It is not called for. I did good for you, offered you great advice. Perhaps you really need to be digging out of trash cans, wear holes in your clothes and beg to understand what good you have it and the good nature of your visitors from Patch. Currently, she found a nice couple to give her a few months rent for a room, she as a little money in her pocket, a storage she finds a way to pay for, her phone, a computer and no job because she abandonded it due to her not happy enough to just show up after she did not have a place to live (rented room). This is what I found out the hour I asked her to leave my home due to story contradictions. She stayed with me 3 days after her rent was paid -because she could not arrange anyone to help bring her stuff to storage. Well, all you need is a blanket an pillow. I had called my close attorney friend to help her and she changed her story about getting fired. I am not ignorant, or cruel enough to throw someone out of my home if they were respectful and down on their luck. Furthermore, I am honored you mentioned me and gave me credit for 3 days as you never said thank you for everything I did for you.
Joanna September 10, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Helen, I'm sorry that you're in the position you are, but have you ever heard the term Don't look a gift horse in the mouth? I'm guessing you aren't doing yourself any justice by airing your issues with someone who offered you a place to stay. After reading what you wrote about Jessica I for sure wouldn't be jumping to offer you any assistance. Regardless of your feelings of her home life, you should not air them on the internet. Especially when you are asking for help.
Mike Szymanski September 10, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Everyone has the right to DELETE their own comments just by signing in and going to where they commented on the story, AND, by the way, if you have come across an inappropriate comment, you can hit FLAG IT and it will be removed if the staff here deems it inappropriate. Please don't hesitate to flag some of the offensive comments, thanks!
Richard Horgan September 10, 2012 at 11:56 PM
@Helen Though it's always difficult, I think the best approach moving forward is not to criticize ANYONE or anything until your life is in order. Walk away of course from what doesn't work and do what's best, but don't present yourself as someone shoeless complaining about the pair of shoes you've been given. Also, the Mark Horvath websites WeAreVisible.com and InvisiblePeople.tv are designed to help people in your tough situation. Founded by a great activist, Mark Horvath. Please check them out.
JOE September 16, 2012 at 07:32 AM
roni walter September 18, 2012 at 02:24 AM
hi my name is roni, and i was so moved by your story. i just met helen recently in the starbucks in studio city. we sat next to each other and i tell y'all that helen is the nicest lady. i will call her today, and although i do not have alot, i will offer her what i can. i have also seen her around studio city before i met her, and 4 some reason, i was moved to pray for her. thank you for her story. peace and Blessings roni poetronigirl ps, i want to share a poem that i feel fits this story broken trails of solitude by poetronigirl "i travel solo roads where common footsteps pave broken trails flooded yesterdays tears i carry bag loads & bag loads of sorrow & regret yet i bath my pain in salted waters just beyond the santa monica pier & as i stand at the closing of 2day i will quietly pray as i light a candle in the shadow of the moonlit sand that reveals my footsteps along the broken trails of solitude flooded with yesterday's tears i travel solo roads y'all peace poetronigirl www.facebook.com/poetronigirl poetronigirl@hotmail.com
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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