“Hey QQ!” Shirley Raines calls out. Colorful flowers, potted plants and a “Home Sweet Home” sign adorn the entrance to Q’s house.
Q, who is transgender and HIV positive, subsequently says that she felt vulnerable in the main part of Skid Row.
“This zone is a lot nicer for me,” says Q. “It’s a lot safer for me.”
According to Raines, the main area of Skid Row can be “very territorial,”
“If you can’t protect and defend yourself, you’re not in line,” Raines says. “You stay back here.”
Despite the challenges it faces, Q maintains a positive outlook.
“I love life. I just love the smell of nature, the flowers, the plants,” she says. “This is a world too. We may not have the luxuries that they have down there, but we are people as they are.”
A few weeks after the “United Shades of America” episode aired on CNN, Raines revealed some good news about her friend: Q’s family spotted her on the show and took her home.
“She’s back home and settled in well,” Raines told CNN this week.
Raines said it has been 26 years since Q saw her family, and while some of the homeless men and women she worked with have disappeared from the streets, very few have reunited with their relatives.
“She sleeps in a bed, eats at a table, and lives the life everyone deserves to live,” said Raines. “She has ‘miracles’ written all over her.”