Georgia Institute of Technology

In booming Koreatown, these immigrants live fizzled American dreams

In booming Koreatown, these immigrants live fizzled American dreams

When he hears his phone ring, Seon Jin Kim’s whole body flinches and his ears perk up.

A 62-year-old diabetic with diminishing eyesight, he bounds up the stairs and dives for the phone. This could be the minimum-wage job at a Koreatown pool hall he interviewed for a couple of days ago, the call that would get him back on his feet.

But it’s a wrong number. The phone rings again a few minutes later and he flies up the steps once more — another wrong number.

He couldn’t tell you where things went wrong, but after more than a decade of paint jobs, construction work and cleaning toilets, he had landed in this unofficial shelter for Koreans, run by an Episcopal...

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