Charissa Koh

Charissa is a WORLD reporter who often writes about poverty fighting and prison reform, including profiling ministries in the annual Hope Awards for Effective Compassion competition. She is also a part of WORLD's investigative unit, the Caleb Team. Charissa resides with her husband, Josh, in Austin, Texas. Follow her on Twitter @CharissaKoh.

Associated Press/Photo by Michael Dwyer (file)

Eviction bans tee up long-term housing crisis

Compassion | Renters who felt short-term benefits could end up worse off
by Charissa Koh
Posted 12/09/20, 04:56 pm

In the 1960s, Greta Arceneaux took out a loan to tear down her old house in Los Angeles and build five rental units on the property. With income from renters, Arceneaux, now 81, saved for retirement and helped her children and grandchildren pay for college. But this year, LA enacted protection for tenants affected by the coronavirus, preventing landlords from evicting them for up to 12 months. Now Arceneaux foots the bills for the property with no guarantee of income. One of her tenants lost his job during the pandemic and stopped paying rent.

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Associated Press/Photo by Mark J. Terrill (file)

A bridge back to the streets?

Compassion | Los Angeles’ new homeless program sends more people back to the streets than to permanent housing
by Charissa Koh
Posted 12/02/20, 05:32 pm

During the coronavirus pandemic, residents of Venice, a hip beach neighborhood in Los Angeles, complained of increasing crime and homeless encampments, especially around a nearby “bridge” shelter. Parents told stories of taking their children to school and passing homeless men exposing themselves.

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Sidelined senior centers

Compassion | Pandemic closures leave the elderly without important services
by Charissa Koh
Posted 11/25/20, 01:21 pm

When the first case of COVID-19 hit Austin, Texas, in mid-March, Meals on Wheels of Central Texas closed the 15 senior recreation and activity centers it operated. About half of the centers’ 1,600 clients live below the poverty line, according to program coordinator Sarah McKenna. Many of them come in for warmth in the winter and air conditioning in the hot Texas summers.

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