Covid-19 9th Homeless Outreach
Updated: Apr 21
Meet our brother Russell. Right now, he lives in a tent in Southloop. We've noticed Russell a couple of weeks ago as he was cleaning the Tent City area. He approached us and said: "Look guys, I cleaned up everything! Does it look nice?" He was proud and we were proud of him!
Truly, this was the first time in years this area looked so clean.Thanks to Russell. I knew there was something special about this man. Later he told us, he just moved to this area recently. No wonder we never saw him before.
This morning Russell recognised our car as we were approaching the Tent City area. He waived at us. He immediately started helping us unload the trunk. He asked were we were from. When I said "Bosnia!" he had this big smile on his face "Bosnia!" - made me think he already had some contact with Bosnians. He goes on to tell us that he
used to have his own construction business, from 2010-2018. His partner put him in debt. He lost his business, and series of other unfortunate events followed. His child passed away, his wife left him, he was wrongly accused of a crime that he never committed, wrong place at the wrong time "he was looking for food in the containers at the crime scene" - had to fight that off for 16 months... "Many bad events started piling up, life turned from good to real bad." He ended up homeless.
He is looking for a job and he needs a bicycle so he can get to the job. He didn't request one. He just mentioned he wants to work, make some money to buy a bicycle to get to work. In the meantime "I'll walk no matter how far. I'll work for any salary, I just need to get my self up on my feet!" I promised him, we'll get him a bike. He should save to finish his school.
He started a trucking school, was supposed to complete the program then Covid-19 happened. The school closed.
Russel is trying real hard to fix his life. He has been looking for a job, but no luck yet.
He's been going door to door asking for work. I offered to make a resume for him. I'll work on it this week.
On Sunday, I will show him how to look for jobs online, how to use his e-mail and what websites to use to increase his chances in getting a job.
He told us he worked at Jewel, gas stations, landscaping, construction and many other jobs.
He sends a message to everyone: "I am inteligent, I had a good life. I ended up here. I don't smoke, I don't drink. I am cleaning this tent city just to do some work and to keep it clean for all of you coming down with donations. I'll do ANY job... "
When I asked, If anyone is paying him to clean the Tent City, he said, no he is doing a volunteer work for Alderman.
The previous jobs he had, they used to pay him $10 per day and give him some food!! He was doing the same job as someone else who happened not to be homeless and that person was probably making $10/hr while they pay Russell $10/day!! And here we have Russell, trying real hard to get his life back on track and employers are taking an advantage of him making it IMPOSSIBLE for him to chase his dreams. He is not asking for much. But, he was even happy with making $10/day.. That's how he saved some money to buy a cell phone.
Let's that sink in next time anyone even tries to look down on a homeless person, how they don't want to work, how even some with jobs still cannot afford an apartment because what- they are lazy? Could we afford to live in a nice apartment and have food on the table making $10/day in Chicago!!??
Russell and like him deserve a chance! Let's help Russell get a job to save for an apartment and get him back into trucking school. He really wants to live a normal life. That's all.
My goal is to help Russell with his resume; To teach him how to apply for jobs online; buy him a bicycle or if anyone wants to donate one let me know; get him some nice clothes for the interview-- will also accept donations.
Send your donations via Www.helpingheartsofbih.org