The man next to me is not currently homeless. Edward lives in a room on 6th Street in downtown San Francisco and has been selling the Street Sheet in front of the Walgreens in Noe Valley for many years. I’ve worked with Edward for over two years, helping to get his story out to people in the SF Bay Area and beyond. The San Francisco Examiner and the Noe Valley Voice have written about Edward and made his humanity more visible to a wider audience. Here are links to those articles: http://archives.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/sf-advocate-sees-opportunity-for-homeless-on-social-media/Content?oid=2912738
Edward used to work as cook at the Best Western Hotel on 7th Street, but he has been unemployed since losing most of his vision 30 years ago. Edward has social security that pays his rent, but no other income apart from what he brings in from Noe Valley donations. Edward is 73, has bad arthritis, relies on a walker, and recently spent time in the St. Francis Hospital. When he is feeling healthy and the weather is not rainy, you can find Edward at his Walgreens post on Castro Street from 10am to 6pm, seven days a week.
In January of 2015, I helped connect Edward to an amazing organization called HandUp.
HandUp’s mission states, “We believe we’re all better off in a society where everyone can meet their basic needs. Therefore it’s our responsibility to do something, however small, about the problems we see in the world, however large. That’s why we created HandUp-to leverage technology and the power of human relationships to fight urban poverty.”
Through HandUp, hundreds of dollars have been donated to Edward online. Every two weeks Edward visits the non-profit, Project Homeless Connect to collect the donations as food vouchers and as other “cash free” options, while also sending online messages of “thanks” to his donors.
Recently I visited Edward’s HandUp site online and saw that only $50 was donated to him in the last month. Edward is elderly, he is literally aging before my eyes while living his days on the street, striving to sustain himself in front of Walgreens. He depends on the kindness of others to get by. If you feel so inclined to donate, here is a link to Edward’s website: https://handup.org/members/edward
Here is a recent video of Edward speaking about HandUp (he gave me permission to post):