Thursday, April 24, 2014     Volume: 28, Issue: 39
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New Times / Community

The Homeless Project

At New Times, we believe that homelessness is not a problem that can be attacked with money or plans. When we think of homelessness, we don't think of statistics; we think of people. We think of people who've had problems in their lives, and they all have a story to tell. We believe that common sense is the only way we'll ever come close to ending homelessness. This is our common-sense approach, and these are their stories.

Kevin Stitt

Kevin Stitt hasn’t let circumstance get in the way of his determination. He’s been living in a North County shelter for some months and is using public transportation to get around. Despite these facts, upon request, he will reach into his backpack and pull out two large, full binders of personal background information. Even though he has moved dozens of times over the last 20 years, Stitt has managed to compile a personal history unmatched by some individuals who have never moved once in their lifetime.

“I’m originally from Pennsylvania. I moved around a lot. I was married, but my first wife passed away and eventually I moved out this way in 2007,” he said.

Poring over all of his documentation, which ranges from his résumé to his clean, class B driving record, it’s not immediately clear why Stitt would need help getting back on his feet. But when Stitt talks about his late wife, and his bipolar disorder, you get a glimpse of how hard things have been.

“When I was diagnosed … at first, I was not willing to accept that … and I got remarried, which didn’t work out because I wasn’t ready and I rushed into it. It helps to look at all of [these binders],” he said.

What Stitt needs most is help with his fledgling landscaping business. His résumé includes an extensive background as an arborist, landscaper, and organic caretaker. He’s energy efficient and believes in renewable energy efforts. He said he is receiving help from a local agency in getting his business the proper licensing; all he needs is a work truck.

“Someone was kind enough to let me borrow theirs for a few months, but now I have to find my own to make it work,” Stitt explained.

He would also benefit from some “smart” technology to help his business run smoother.

Among his papers is a tattered index card filled with various names of people who have helped him along the way.

“I am so grateful to this community,” he explained. “I am going to find a way to pay it forward to all of these people who have helped me.”

DISCLAIMER

New Times is publishing profiles of certain individuals as a service to the community, but without making any warranty or representation as to the background or qualifications of any individual profiled herein for employment, residence, or other purposes. The information provided herein is offered on an “as is” basis, and is provided with the understanding that New Times is not engaged in rendering any professional advice or service. In no event shall New Times be liable for any damages whatsoever, whether direct, indirect, general, special, compensatory, consequential, and/or incidental, arising out of or relating to any use of this service, or from communications or meetings between users of this service, including, without limitation, lost profits, bodily injury, emotional stress and/or other damages.

New Times does not guaranty the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information contained in these profiles, and individuals are encouraged to make their own independent evaluation of any statements made herein. New Times is not responsible for the conduct of any individuals who may use this service, and New Times makes no representation or warranties and expressly disclaims any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person providing or using any information offered herein.

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Send offers of assistance to homelessproject@newtimesslo.com.

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