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'Homeless and Struggling' but Still Hopeful

A look into the life of an indigent family of five trying to get back on track.

If you've driven past the Rosewood Drive entrance to Walmart you may have seen them. A father and his two young sons standing on the corner holding a sign that reads, "Homeless and struggling family. Can you help us? Please. Anything will help."

But have you ever talked to them? Patch saw them late Sunday morning and decided to find out their story.

The father, who asked to be called just "Ed," was polite and had a deep voice. He said he was married and father of three boys. He said he's a flooring installer and painter by trade who stands on the corner on weekends to supplement his irregular income.

"I do this on the weekend to help pay for food and a room at a motel for the week for us," Ed said. "It is embarrassing and belittling, but I have to do what I have to do for my kids. I have to make sacrifices for my boys."

He said the family has one car and tries to stay in motels with a kitchenette so they can cook nutritious meals for their growing boys. That costs about $250 a week.

The two boys, who were playing nearby, appeared to be clean and well-cared for.

Ed, 40, says the family fell on hard times a little over a year ago. His 30-year-old wife is handicapped with a degenerative disk disease.

"I never approach anyone. I don't say anything to anyone except 'thank you' and 'God bless'," commented Ed. "I don't have much to hide."

Originally from San Jose, Ed says he has applied for jobs from Hayward and San Jose all the way to Stockton.

"I keep my resume with me and I put in 100 applications. I just want anything that will put me to work," he said. "I don't like to sit around. I just wanna work full time and see my boys at night. My family means everything to me."

With a proud smile, Ed told Patch that his three boys are honor roll students and love school.

"My oldest boy has been on honor roll for the past three years and gets straight As," said Ed. "He is on the right track."

Ed has hope in his voice when he speaks.

"I don't want hand-outs. I would really like to work," he said.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness website,  "There are 643,067 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States. Of that number, 238,110 are people in families, and 404,957 are individuals."

The site also says, "Some families living in poverty, however, fall into homelessness, usually due to some unforeseen financial challenge, such as a death in the family, a lost job, or an unexpected bill, creating a situation where the family cannot maintain housing."

In January, the Huffington Post reported in the article, Working Poor: Almost Half Of U.S. Households Live One Crisis From The Bread Line, that "15 percent of Americans — some 46 million people" — are living below the poverty line.

There are groups, including local churches, which provide some aid to the homeless in the Tri-Valley. Tri-Valley Haven and Basic Necessities are non-profit organizations which help to feed homeless people in Tri-Valley and offer resources to provide the basic needs for homeless individuals and families.

Patch wants to know what you think about homelessness in the Bay Area. Do you stop and offer help? What do you tell your children when you see a homeless person or family?

Patch us your comments in the comments section below.

Bobbie D August 03, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Nobody seems concerned that he drags his kids out there on the corner in 100 heat. I don't know if any of this is true in the article, but regardless, it bothers me that he drags his boys out there and uses them like props. Also seems to be getting more popular now - I drive by there everyday and have seen some new faces also working it there. I'm not saying dont give to charity, but those of you throwing change out the window are probably not doing it the best way.
Andy Smith August 03, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Bravo, Bobbie D!! I can see that you live in "Realville". These people are scam artists.
s ball September 28, 2012 at 03:17 AM
everyone just give him food and watch him throw it away
s ball September 28, 2012 at 03:25 AM
hes not homeless if he spends$250 a week on motels,that means he makes at least $500 a week,for about 3 hours a day in the sun that his kids hate. when they get taken he will be homeless cause his gimmick will be gone someone should see where he really lives,if its in that area,hes not poor.those that say hes doing the best he can?he says hes doingthe best he can and its people lke you that create lying bums like this guy.yes ive been homeless for years and dumpster diving can make you $20-50 a day for real work.The guy is lazy and loves dumb women and uncle tom black guys
s ball September 28, 2012 at 03:33 AM
in every situation and crowd there are dummies that fall for something thats clearly fake.One can post a car for sale on craigslist that is a mail money scam and thousands will laugh but a few that think everyone is good will mail away their money for a car that doesnt exist.Esp when the ad says thayre ovrseas and in the military.Any mention of goodnes or human struggle and people have disposable income to throw at it,and these dumb ladies that give money out the car window cant even keep the check book balanced or not overdraw the plastic.They just love to spend as long as theyve convinced themselves it has a purpose .The beggers should get credit cardmachines.Women will still give money to someone that would have an active business checking account?I bet they would.

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