For those of us who have never been homeless, we won’t know how it feels to be without a roof over our head or to wonder when our next meal will be. Here is one story of a man who spent years on the street but never gave up hope.
Kenny Edward, of Antioch, California, has been homeless for the past 13 years. Despite his situation, he is always looking out for and taking care of others, thus earning him the name “Papa Ken” or “Uncle Kenny.”
“This man has a heart of gold and cares for many of his fellow homeless on the streets,” Jamie Garza of charity group Love in Motion wrote in the GoFundMe page that was set up for Edward.
“They look up to him because they feel safe and protected,” Garza told KTVU. “He looks after everybody, but he especially looks after the younger women who are often neglected and abused. He will tell these girls who to avoid, who to stay away from.”
Not only does Edward help those like him, but he also helps the outreach workers.
Ken is coming to church with us tonight! I’m so excited!
“The streets of Antioch are rough,” Garza said. “When we go into rough territory and when he’s around, we breathe a sigh of relief. He just knows how to speak with people. He always knows to calm things down, and he has an innate wisdom about him.”
Edward ended up on the streets after losing his parents and enduring a series of setbacks. He tried very hard to get back on his feet while being diagnosed with a non-life threatening brain tumor. The doctors wanted Edward to seek treatment for the tumor, but he was delaying it until he had a roof over his head.
In August, after working hard with local housing authorities to get a low-income apartment, Edward finally succeeded.
This is Ken holding up TWO SETS OF KEYS! One set is for his new apartment that he got TODAY! The second set is for the…
“He took the bulls by the horns totally and advocated for himself and followed all the protocol because they really make your you jump through the hoops,” Garza said.
Garza didn’t know that Edward had secured an apartment until he turned up to deliver the news to everyone on the day that she and Nichole Gray-Percoats of the local non-profit Facing Homelessness were planning to surprise him with keys to a new car. The car was purchased with the money raised through GoFundMe.
“He pretty much fell over,” Garza recalled.
What perfect timing! With an apartment and a car, in addition to help from Garza in finding a job, we are sure Edward will be settling down in no time.