2016 / Editorial / Photo Essay

The Jungle: Surviving Veteran Homelessness

  • Photographer
    Mary F. Calvert

Melissa A. Ramon spent nine years in the US Air Force where she endured sexual assault at the hands of her training instructor. She suffers from Military Sexual Trauma and has been homeless off and on since her discharge. While Melissa has sought help for permanent housing from the Veteran's Administration and Los Angeles County social services, she has only been offered a bed in a homeless shelter in a neighboring county. In addition to not wanting to remove her son from a school where he is thriving, women's shelters will not admit a young man over the age of twelve and Melissa refuses to send her son to the men’s side of the shelter, so she and 13-year-old Sam, live in a drug and crime ridden motel in Pomona, Ca., that she calls "The Jungle."