No Easy Answers for Nathalie and Wally

Re: “Helping Hands: A homemaker’s unlikely friendship with a homeless man inspires hope for a better tomorrow,” Cover Story, Nov. 23

Changing a life isn’t easy, but Nathalie Boutin hasn’t given up.

The Culver City mom is still trying to help Wally — a homeless man she’d pass daily while driving her kids to school — find a better life than collecting recyclables for food money and sleeping under a 90 Freeway overpass.

After a story about Nathalie’s mission to raise $1,000 toward helping Wally off the streets appeared in The Argonaut, readers opened their wallets to make it happen. But she now realizes that money alone isn’t going to solve Wally’s problems.

For the past few weeks, Wally’s been hard to find. His van is still parked on Selmaraine Drive, recyclables come and go, but he’s avoiding her. Wally’s issues are complex.

“I’m still trying to figure out the right way to help him — not just hand him some money that will be gone in a few months, but do something really meaningful with it,” Nathalie says. “But he’s not willing to get help through institutions.”

Meanwhile, Argonaut readers have offered words of support and encouragement that include the following:
Wally, remember this: Where there is a will, there is a way.
Louise Blocker

If every one of us took the time to make a difference in someone’s life it would make the world a better place to live in.
Rama V.

Ms. Boutin shows how one person moving past fear of the unknown can make a difference.
Linda Lucks

Let’s spread love and hope!
Celine Rech

Nathalie Boutin has a huge heart. Her kindness in choosing not to drive by Wally but to stop instead and hear his story teaches us how we can all take a moment to help others.

Good luck, Wally!
Chris Lambert