Edward is a U.S. Army veteran, the son of a steelworker, and an Indiana native. He’s a former Cub Scout, a committed employee, and a dedicated father.
When Edward’s wife asked for a divorce six years into their marriage, it was a devastating blow. Not only was it going to be difficult—if not impossible— for Edward to make rent with his modest income, his wife had said she would be taking their daughter, Essence. “My little sidekick,” Edward called her.
“I couldn’t afford the apartment on my own so I had to let it go,” Edward told us. For a while, he was able to stay with a friend under the radar, but the landlord soon caught on, and the agreement had to end. “I gathered my things and left. I was homeless.”
Soon, Edward’s hours were cut to part time at the moving equipment company where he worked, but he continued paying child support as if he were working full time. “My daughter was always my priority and I was determined to provide for her even if it meant I couldn’t afford to have a place to live,” he told us. At least two weekends each month, Edward would rent a room at a motel so he could spend time with his daughter.
But the rest of the time, Edward had nowhere to go. He began to sleep in his employer’s rental trucks, and would sneak into a truck after store hours to avoid detection. “I was hopeless,” he told us. “I didn’t make enough at my job to both support my daughter and rent an apartment.” Each day, Edward would do all of his morning duties to open the store, and then use the employee restrooms to freshen up. For two years, this was Edward’s normal. On the hottest summer days and the coldest winter nights, he slept in the back of a rental truck—grateful, at least, to not be outside.
Eventually, Edward’s manager noticed. He was compassionate, and allowed Edward to continue as long as middle management didn’t find out. Soon enough, they did, and he was terminated. “I had nowhere to go,” Edward remembers.
On his last day, he sustained a significant wrist injury that led him to Regions Hospital. “This is where my Cinder-Fella glass slipper story begins,” Edward joked. The social worker at Regions referred him to Guild, and the next day, he met with a staff member from the Hospital to Home team with Delancey Street Services at Guild.
“It was like a miracle. The first thing that Guild did was to get me into my own apartment. I was so happy to have my own place that I immediately laid down on the floor and took a nap,” Edward reflected. “It was a great feeling!”
Eight years later, Edward still has his apartment. “Guild has cured my homelessness,” he said. “My Guild team has been there for me every step of the way. They support me to maintain my stability and help me identify and set my goals for the future.”
And as for his little sidekick, Essence is now 18 years old, and lives with Edward. She just graduated from high school and plans to go to college to be a fashion designer.
Edward, of course, is a very proud father indeed. “I shine through you, I shine because of you, and I love you very much,” he told Essence, who joined us at our December Ladder of Hope event.
Thank you, Edward, for elevating your voice and sharing your story. We know that when one person has the courage to speak up, it gives others permission to do the same.
Help us Eliminate Homelessness
At Guild, we know that getting people housed and providing support is what eliminates homelessness. Together, as a community, we can fight homelessness. Donate to our services today.