Ill, Latino and Homeless: How an LA County Program Helps the Most Vulnerable

LA’s homeless population is seeing a rise in the number of Latinos living on the street, a trend fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and rising rates of drug use and addiction.

Knee and back problems were plaguing 75-year-old Roberto Juarez a couple of years ago, and he found himself unable to work and running out of money to pay for the little room where he lived in Los Angeles. He was about to be homeless.

Today, Juarez has had two surgeries on his spine and knee, with three more to come, and not only has he not ended up on the street, but he has a home and services 24 hours a day.

That’s all thanks to “Housing for Health,” a Los Angeles County program that provides housing and support for sick people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“This help was my salvation,” Juarez says during an interview at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recovery Resource Center, where he has lived since November. Before that, he spent eight months at a Holiday Inn in Long Beach, all covered by the County Department of Health Services program.

“I would have been on the street somewhere, and I was […]

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