KWK Spotlight - April
Jay is 34 years old. He lives out of his car which he bought for a thousand dollars, with his dog, Smokey. He fixes the car himself, when needed, using his skill and any tools he can get his hands on. His brother also lives out of his own car with his dog, Gypsy. They move from parking lot to parking lot to survive.
He’s been living this way since February 5, 2021, due to Veteran housing complications with Covid-19 and his roommates.
Looking at him, you wouldn’t know that he served in the U.S. Navy for 5 ½ years, and has two Bachelor’s Degrees and even played video games professionally at one point.
Jay grew up in Riverside, CA and earned his Business Management degree while serving in the Navy and earned an Information Security and Network Systems Degree from ITT Tech.
He served primarily in Afghanistan and focused on anti-piracy and narcotics terrorism. While on duty, he fell off a ladder and suffered a ruptured spine, torn ACL and fractured tibia. He now receives $900/month in disability.
Contracting manual labor gigs like auto body work, paint framing, roofing, flooring, etc. is how he supplements his disability income.
Even though he considers him a ”casualty of the system”, he acknowledges that he didn’t necessarily plan ahead well enough in some of his life choices.
Taking care of Steve, who is battling alcoholism, is one of Jay’s highest priorities. His current goal is to earn enough money through contracting work to pay for housing for him and his brother.
In the few moments when he’s able to enjoy life, Jay likes to draw, learn new things, revamp his car and of course, play with Smokey!
One thing Jay encourages people to not to do is assume. Have empathy and show compassion.
This is something Kits With Kindness agrees with whole-heartedly. We are highlighting people we help with our Kits because we want to know their stories and show people their humanity. Not everyone who is homeless, is “lazy” or chooses to be on the streets. Life can be hard and you never know what can happen.
Showing even a little kindness can go a long way.
We will continue to stay in touch with Jay and update his progress.
If you’d like to help Jay and others like him who are currently in need and living on the streets, you can donate to Kits With Kindness here.
Thank you, Jay for sharing your story, and we hope the best for you, Steve, Smokey, and Gypsy!