“What you see today is a miracle.”
Juan grew up with what he calls a “rowdy state of mind.” A native of Altadena and the brother of the late Rodney King, Juan was always in and out of trouble. At the age of 17, he was offered a professional contract to play with the New York Yankees, but declined – he says his life was too far down the wrong path.
Struggling with substance abuse and alcohol addiction, Juan found himself bouncing between shelters in Los Angeles. After years of neglect, his mental and physical health faded. It wasn’t before long that Juan was living on Skid Row. When he found out he had an advanced stage of cancer and was given six months to a year to live, he wasn’t fazed.
“I just didn’t care,” recalls Juan. “I didn’t want to live.” Juan knew he needed to change, and that’s when he found Union Station. With the help of Sieglinde, the Regional Coordinator for the Coordinated Entry System (CES) and her team, Juan was able to find the services he needed to put his life back in the right direction.
“I messed up the first month,” says Juan about his stay at our Adult Center. “When I went to court, I was surprised to see Union Station staff showed up and they’ve helped me ever since.”
Juan remembers how the staff at the Adult Center worked around the clock to make sure it was a safe place for him and all residents. With three hot meals a day, clothing assistance, and mental health services, Juan says he had never seen such support at other shelters – and it has benefited all aspects of his life.
With consistent care and treatment, Juan’s cancer is in remission. He was able to get an apartment of his own with the help of Union Station. “What you see today is a miracle,” Juan says with pride. “I love my life today – I want to live.”