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UCLA Magazine Fall 2003
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Fall 2003
City Of Angels
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On the unglamorous sidewalks of Hollywood's back streets,
a group of UCLA students is dedicated to making
a difference in the lives of the homeless

By David Greenwald
Photography by Ara Oshagan '88

City Of Angels
Volunteer Jo Marie Tran Janco pauses for a moment at the corner of Sycamore and Romaine before interviewing a client.

The man known on the street as Fats sits splay-legged on a metal folding chair set up in the middle of a bleak sidewalk a block off Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. Two buttons of his short-sleeve shirt have popped open across his ample belly, which spills over the rim of his dingy pants.

He is 43 but looks older, with close-cropped black hair, enormous arms and a broad, gregarious face. Crouching in front of him on the hard concrete, a young woman, clean and fresh and neatly dressed in shirt and slacks, is tenderly washing and massaging his huge feet as they soak in a dishpan filled with water.

As she bathes the hardened skin of Fats' feet and legs, clipping his toenails and gently working the grime out of his puffy flesh, Ele Lozares '03 asks him how he is doing, what is happening in his life, if there are any problems he wants to talk about. Her voice is soft and generous and invites his trust. Fats tells her he's feeling OK, but his feet, which are cracked and swollen, hurt. He tells her what he is doing to try to manage his health, where he's been sleeping and eating. They joke a little and laugh and fondly tease each other back and forth. There is mutual respect and genuine caring in their exchange.

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