The Faces of our Community
The Faces of our Community
Robert Jones sat on a bench outside the courtroom, waiting to hear if he was going back to prison for the seventh time. But that day, on that bench, Robert heard a call from deep inside. He felt a desire to try the one thing he had never tried before —
By Jasmine Roman — Throughout my life, I have always been in motion – from place to place, from apartment to apartment, from shelter to shelter, to finally a decent home where I currently live. In order for me to survive, I had to get used to letting go of the past and adapting to the “now.”
When they fell in love 20 years ago, Christina and Bennie did not plan to raise their family on the streets, on borrowed couches, or in temporary shelters. Her family’s disapproval of her relationship with Bennie triggered
Demeiia left her suburban Chicago hometown of Evanston, IL for Los Angeles at 23 because she needed to change her life. Her story weaves through many pockets of our sprawling city – from Eagle Rock to North Hollywood to South Los Angeles and finally, The Jungle* – where she knew she would die.
Jasmine, her three brothers and her mother moved into A Community of Friends’ Vista Nueva apartments in 2011, breaking her family’s cycle of chronic homelessness. “We used to live in a shelter,” said Jasmine. “We’d have to be up by 5 a.m. and out by 8 a.m.
Caroline Havens was born in Nebraska and moved to the Los Angeles area many years ago. In July 1997, Ms. Havens became homeless when she lost her job due to an illness. She tried applying for unemployment, but was rejected because of her health issue. Unable to work a full day, she tried to apply for General Relief but was informed that she had to apply for unemployment.
Daniel Rivera left home when he was 18 and has been in and out of homelessness his entire life, spending time in Los Angeles, Miami and Orlando. Looking back, Mr. Rivera realized that his symptoms of mental illness first surfaced in high school and continued into college. He was depressed, developed social anxiety and was withdrawn.
Eddie Wormley, a lifelong Angeleno, was raised in West Los Angeles by a single mother who was an alcoholic. He became involved with drugs and the “street life” early – use of marijuana easily escalated into abuse of other drugs. In and out of juvenile hall, he eventually joined the Marines but continued his addiction.
As a child, John Chavis was subject to emotional and physical abuse by his family. This abuse paved the way for a life filled with depression and low self-esteem. The two things that kept him going were a love of writing and a love of art. It was his love of art that provided relief through his troubling road to recovery.