What happens when a chronically homeless veteran gets a chance at permanent supportive housing in Los Angeles.
y the lone tent under the cement overpass, just visible from the Hollywood Freeway, Fernando Maya waited with several backpacks stuffed with clothes, electronics and food.
Once a constant roar of traffic below his makeshift home, the freeway stood empty in the waning days of spring 2020 as the first wave of coronavirus tore through California. Here, occasional cars whipped up gusts of wind, their whistles morphing into the voices of people he had let down.
A car pulled up alongside a chain link fence that separated a service road from Maya’s camp. He hadn’t taken down his tent, raised from the dirt by a wood pallet to let rats pass. He was leaving and he didn’t know how long he’d be gone.
Maya slid into the back seat, his mind spinning with doubts. At 6-feet-1, the 56-year-old brimmed with an energy that could swing from charming to intimidating. When agitated, he slung his words faster, then harder.
“I don’t want to go anywhere where there’s a curfew,” Maya said to the driver, Jorge Soria, his case worker. “I don’t need the headache of having to follow directions.”…