Mellissa Millan helps people fill out applications for rental assistance, food stamps, and medical at the Latino Task Force essential service hub in the Mission. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

Mellissa Millan, a 25-Year-old student at Cal State Los Angeles who grew up in the Mission District, works Wednesdays and Thursdays on the second floor of the Mission Language and Vocational School, where the Latino Task Force runs an essential services hub to guide and assist residents in applying for benefits. 

A Guatemalan mother of two in her 40s was unemployed and behind on her rent by six months when Millan met her at the essential services hub.  

The woman is the sole provider for her two daughters and had no family in the United States. Millan recalled that she said, “’I hope you can help me, because I am desperate, and I don’t know what else I can do.’” 

“She just kind of felt like doors were closing on her,” said Millan. 

The woman started crying as she told her story. 

Her citizenship status made getting help difficult, and her landlord was unwilling to offer any relief. She “felt like the whole world was coming down on her.” 

Like many undocumented workers, she had been paid in cash, so she had no pay stubs to submit for the rental assistance applications.  This is a problem they ran into frequently at the hub, and had figured out a workaround: filling out an application that is equivalent to a pay stub. She also connected the woman with a Catholic charity that would be able to offer her partial rent relief.

After helping the woman, Millan said that it made her realize, “It’s not just the stories you hear, it is real-life situations out there.” 

Read other memories from essential workers

Read how the Latino Task Force came to be

Clara-Sophia Daly

Clara-Sophia Daly is a multimedia storyteller and reporter who has worked both in print and audio. A graduate of Skidmore College where she studied International Affairs and Media/Film studies, she enjoys...

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