Kim Kardashian West is using her platform for a greater good.
Sunday’s episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians focused almost entirely on Kim’s mission to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness, particularly in downtown Los Angeles.
After driving through Skid Row with Khloé, 33, and Kourtney, 38, the sisters realized how much more severe the problem had gotten in recent years — and how oblivious they had become to it.
“My dad used to drive us to Skid Row when we were little, to show us that the rest of the world doesn’t live how we live in Beverly Hills,” said Kim, 37. “And that always stuck with me.”
“I think people are blind and kind of like to live in their bubble and ignore what’s really going on,” said Khloé.
Kim decided that the time had come to do something to help.
“I am just at a point in my life where I don’t want to be naive anymore,” she admitted. “And I want to use my platform to get other people involved. … I just hope that I can shine a light on this issue, and hopefully more people will come together and we can figure out a solution for this.”
“I don’t know what the answer is to get people off the streets, but I’m so willing to help in any way that I can,” she continued. “I just want to bring awareness to this issue. It makes me feel really sad that people are just living like this, and the problem is getting worse.”
Khloé and Kim decided to meet with the staff at Union Rescue Mission, one of the largest rescue missions of its kind in the United States and the oldest in L.A., where they learned that there are around 47,000 homeless people in the area with just 12,000 shelter beds to go around. (More recent statistics point to an even higher number of affected individuals: 58,000.)
Later, Kim met with councilwoman Nury Martinez, who has focused much of her career on helping the homeless. Together, Kim and Martinez drove around the city as Martinez pointed out the many homeless encampments, all littered with trash and debris. With Martinez taking the lead, they stopped and talked to whoever was willing to share how they got there — and ask if they would be open to accepting services.
“Seeing that it’s like, this whole community — it’s so unsanitary, so not safe,” said Kim. “It was heartbreaking to see these living conditions.”
“I know that this is not something that I can fix by myself,” she added. “But I hope that everything that I’m learning will hopefully wake something up in other people.”
Deciding to focus their efforts on women and children, Kim and her team organized a party at the Alexandria House, a longterm shelter for women and single mothers. They partnered with companies to provide a range of products and services such as money management coaching and resume workshopping.
Several women who have been supported by the Alexandria House also got the chance to tell their stories and share their experiences with homelessness, including a former athlete who was kicked out of the house at 17.
“There are so many circumstances that can lead to this situation for so many people — this could happen to anyone,” said Kim. “It’s so important to understand that not everyone on the street is a drug addict.”
Keeping Up with the Kardashians airs Sundays (9 p.m. ET) on E!