Desert Volunteers Take Action; Homeless Man Reunited With Family In Florida

Ever experience the sheer joy of getting back home after a trip that had plenty of setbacks?  Well, that’s the feeling Rohan Francis might be feeling right now.


He was a homeless man well known in Desert Hot Springs, until he was recently given a ride home.


And home is a long way from Desert Hot Springs.


Volunteers with a local group called The Bridge to Better, and the Desert HealthCare District and Foundation have given Rohan Francis a flight back to his home in Florida, to reunite with his mother.


Francis recently had the lower half of one of his legs amputated.


He was found living on the streets, in a wheelchair, by volunteers with the Bridge to Better as they distributed meals in late February.


The volunteers contacted Francis’ mother in Florida who did not have the money for a flight back to Florida for her son.


So, led by the volunteers from The Bridge to Better, Lakisha Nelson, Justina Smith and Michael Pena and the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation, donated the money to buy Francis a flight from the desert to Florida. 


Francis spent one night at the access center in DHS, run by Martha’s Village and Kitchen, before being allowed through airport security despite not having the proper I-D.


Francis’ mother met him at the airport in Florida.


We don’t know how Francis ended up living on the street in the Coachella Valley.


But Carole Rogers, a Desert Healthcare District and Foundation Board Director, says  “We are fortunate in the Coachella Valley to have organizations like The Bridge to Better, along with the city of Desert Hot Springs and the District and Foundation, who come together to improve health and wellness for the most vulnerable in the community.”



Homeless man Rohan Francis, sitting in a wheelchair, ready to fly home to his family in Florida after getting help in Desert Hot Springs, April 10th 2024

Photo from Desert Healthcare District