When I (Christine) recently ordered curtain rods online I had an option to purchase installation by a company called porch.com (http://porch.com/
). Long story short, the guy who was selected for the install came to do my work today and after about an hour I learned that his wife, four-month-old baby, and six-year-old son were waiting in the car. I learned this is because they are homeless, having been evicted from their temporary lodging two nights ago (“at night night time”, according to the six year old). I invited them in to warm up, and was immediately charmed by the adorable, well mannered six-year-old boy. When I Inquired as to whether he had a hat and gloves and he said he did but they were “lost in storage” which I learned meant that the items in their storage unit are inaccessible due to nonpayment. I scrounged through my kids’ stuff and found some hats and gloves to give him, and his eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning. Needless to say this was heartbreaking. I fed the little boy breakfast and let his dad take his time in the warmth to install to complete his work.
Then, when it was time for him to drive away with his family and everything they own crammed into their car, the car wouldn’t start because it has been remotely disabled for nonpayment. The father broke down in tears - the car was his only hope of getting around and hustling up work as a handyman/laborer. It is also where they plan to sleep tonight. With his car stuck in my tenants’ parking space and him silently sobbing nearby, I didn’t know what to do. I am now headed over to pay his car payment for him, which will buy him just two weeks until the next one is due. I am also going to put them up in a hotel for a couple nights. I’ve spoken with them at length about what city resources they’ve tried to access, and it sounds like they’ve tried everything and are out of options. I’ve also asked directly if they are doing doing drugs or alcohol. He said that they’ve been clean for five years. I have no idea whether this is true of course, all I can do is take his word for it.
All told I’m going to spend several hundred dollars helping this family yet it will only put a Band-Aid on their troubles for about two weeks. He says he needs $800 to clear all his debts and get everyone off his back. I don’t have $800 to give to this endeavor, especially if I must spend money to help them find a place tonight. What bothers me is that anything I’m doing is only a Band-Aid.
It occurred to me that I could post here and see if the community has any ideas as to how this man can find work, or if there are any spare tools that could be donated to him to help him build his business. He specifically requested shovels and brooms and rakes so he can do some landscaping work. He just got his drill out of hock, and unless I help him, tonight he’s going to have to go pawn it again. This is a classic example of how poverty can trap you in poverty. I’d love any ideas of how to help this family!