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Picture of R. Jan Gurley

This is one in a series of articles examining the relationship between housing loss and death in San Francisco. Check out the previous articles in the series, Looking for death, and Gunpowder on the streets....

Picture of Linnie Frank Bailey

As Americans struggle with the aftermath of the health care reform bill, and try to determine exactly what it means for themselves and their families, the homeless population is often ignored. Most assume that homeless Americans get free medical care, but that is not necessarily the case. Even those who do have government-sponsored health care are forced to make difficult choices when health must compete with food, shelter, and transportation. This ongoing series of stories will detail the plight of the 'sick and homeless' in Riverside, California.

Picture of William Heisel

A reporter gets a call from the hypothetical Council for Making Sick Kids Smile about an event being sponsored on an otherwise sleepy Sunday. The reporter heads out to the event, hoping for a quick local page filler, and comes back to the newsroom with a great-sounding story with quotes from a well-spoken university professor and a teary mom and a photo of a sick and smiling child holding balloons nuzzling with a baby koala bear.

What reporters in this situation rarely ask is: who founded this council and why?

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