In California, homeless and housing-insecure families struggle to find safe places to shelter from coronavirus.
marie claire - Across from two of the tall, unnervingly skinny palm trees Los Angeles is known for, there is a light blue bungalow in a row of neat, single-story structures. After a historically dry winter, the city has just seen a bout of rain, which drummed on the brown, sloping roof of the building and turned the front yard a vivid green. Now, in the muddy soil and shade from the still-clouded sky, the home’s youngest new inhabitants set about their task of the day: digging into that wet soil and sprinkling seeds—they’re creating a vegetable garden.
“They call it [the] ‘love and kindness garden,’” Martha Escudero tells me over the phone. In the background, a soft soundtrack of children’s voices pipes up intermittently.
As families across the United States prepare to ride out this medical crisis by self-isolating for weeks, or possibly longer, Escudero, a 42-year-old mother of two, is grateful for a safe space to call home. But the bungalow with the newly green yard isn’t actually theirs—it’s a vacant property, owned by the state of California.
Over the past week, health experts have increasingly called for communities to practice social distancing and self-isolation to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. But as reports of the sickness in California began trickling—then flooding—in and counties began calling for residents to “shelter in place,” Escudero and her daughters Victoria, 10, and Meztli, 8, didn’t know what to do. They had no place of their own to stay.
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