Along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Struggle to Make a Living

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Along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Struggle to Make a Living

Over the past five years, she said, she has accumulated about 100 traffic tickets and paid several hundred dollars, which she hopes will be reimbursed as part of the pending lawsuit.

Last year, Ms. Soto's husband began weekly kidney dialysis, and Ms. Soto took time off in March to recover from a hysterectomy. Since she and her husband were unable to work, a group of vendors pooled their earnings and gave the couple $3,000 to help them make ends meet.

Although she is back at work, Ms. Soto said business is slow.

“After the pandemic, everything changed,” she said. “It's not as easy as it was before. That's because of the economy. Now it's very slow. People complain about money, about the taxes they have to pay. They don't spend as much as they used to.”

She hasn't made $900 in a week since last summer, Ms. Soto said, and last month she made just $360 in five days. It's difficult to pay the $2,000 a month rent for her one-bedroom apartment, she said.

Her 19-year-old son works at a nearby shoe store to help cover expenses, she said, and she may soon look for another job where she can work in the mornings before moving on to selling hot dogs.

“The situation is very, very bad,” she said.

As a thick layer of ocean dust settled over the city, Ms. Soto turned on the light above her shopping cart and zipped up her hood. A four-wheeled food delivery robot – one of many that traverse this part of Los Angeles – whizzed by.

It was a relatively quiet night in the heart of Hollywood and after seven hours, Ms. Soto's shift was over.

Her total for the day: $85. She hoped the next day would be better.