Cancer Survivor and Homeless Veteran Living in a Tent in Los Angeles's Koreatown



Lucrecia is a cancer survivor and was in the army for four years. Like tens of thousands of homeless Angelenos, she lives homeless in a tent in Los Angeles’s Koreatown.

Lucrecia had stage 3 lymphoma cancer. She went through both chemo and radiation at the same time. There was little hope of remission, but after seven months of aggressive treatment, Lucrecia is cancer-free.

Sadly, because of being tired and missing work, the cancer treatment caused Lucrecia to lose her job. She then moved in with her parents, but because there were too many people in the apartment not on the lease, Lucrecia left her children with her parents and ended up homeless.

When Lucrecia became homeless, she also started using meth and quickly became a drug addict. Meth is the perfect drug for homelessness. Going to sleep on the streets is dangerous, and meth will keep a person up all night. Meth gives the energy needed to carry water and walk for miles for food. Because cancer treatment killed Lucrecia’s immune system and all of her strength, methamphetamine became her life so she could function on the streets.

Lucrecia is now drug-free. She still smokes weed, but pretty much everyone smokes weed anymore. For a cancer survivor, Marijuana has many benefits.

Lucrecia is in contact with her parents and plans to go back home soon. Lucrecia is trying to do everything right. After many years on the streets, it’s a process of adapting back.

Lucrecia shares openly about how the street people you know become family just like any community. She shares about the dangers of homelessness and how one of her closest friends died in his tent.

Lucrecia also shares about the growing criminalization of homelessness. Police have harassed her and taken everything she owns several times. Community action groups like Ktown for All [ do the best they can at replacing tents and sleeping bags, but Los Angeles runs over 40 homeless sweeps every day. The scale homeless people are being displaced is massive, and homeless sweeps do nothing to help end homelessness.

Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will continue to get worse. Click here to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.

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There is a direct correlation between what the general public perceives about homelessness and how it affects policy change. Most people blame homelessness on the person experiencing it instead of the increasing shortage of affordable housing, lack of employment, a living wage or the countless reasons that put a person at risk. This lack of understanding creates a dangerous cycle of misperception that leads to the inability to effectively address the root causes of homelessness.

We imagine a world where everyone has a place to call home. Each day, we work to fight homelessness by giving it a face while educating individuals about the systemic issues that contribute to its existence. Through storytelling, education, news, and activism, we are changing the narrative on homelessness.

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However, there is more work to be done on the road ahead. Homelessness is undoubtedly one of our biggest societal issues today and will only continue to grow if we don’t take action now.

Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about homelessness through innovative storytelling, news, and advocacy. Since our launch in 2008, Invisible People has become a pioneer and trusted resource for inspiring action and raising awareness in support of advocacy, policy change and thoughtful dialogue around poverty in North America and the United Kingdom.

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