Guadalupe Homeless Project: Joaquin’s Journey Home

The Guadalupe Homeless Project is an emergency shelter with a limit of three months for residents. At times GHP provides a longer stay for men and women with medical challenges. One such resident was Joaquin.

Living in Arizona in 2009, Joaquin’s medical troubles started. He remembers, “It was very early one morning. I woke up and couldn’t breathe.”

At the hospital, an emergency tracheotomy saved his life, but damaged his trachea. Once out of surgery, the hospital could not afford to help continue his medical treatment. He left Arizona for Washington, where he heard he could get help. He recalls,

"On my way I met a man off the street and he was ask- ing about my throat. I was so annoyed at people asking but I told him anyway. He said ‘go to Los Angeles, go to the church in Placita Olvera and ask to be referred to Dolores Mission. Once you are there ask for Raquel, she will help you’. I don’t know why I listened to him, but I did."

Joaquin would spend four years at GHP while he sched- uled doctor visits to try to repair his trachea. Unable to work because of his condition, he thought he would end up going to a nearby park after the shelter. His doctor, in collaboration with his GHP case manager, referred him to a social worker who helped him secure housing due to his medical complications.

“I am so thankful to [GHP] for treating me so well. I had clothes, I had food, I could shower, I had a place to sleep. Whoever comes here, God blesses them.”

Joaquin is in temporary housing waiting to be placed into a permanent home. He is still pursuing medical treatment, but now he can wait at home.

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