Thursday, October 30, 2014     Volume: 29, Issue: 14
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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.

Allen Oliphant

Allen Oliphant had a nice, steady gig fixing up old houses. An investor would buy run-down properties and let Oliphant, a jack of all trades, live on site while he worked to refurbish each place before moving on to the next.

After that set-up ended, he spent the next five years living on creek beds until recently, when he was able to get a hold of an RV. Of course, he thought the enclosed space would be a step up, something to help him stabilize his life. He was wrong.

“We’re getting hassled more now,” said Susan Perez, Oliphant’s girlfriend. “It’s gotten to the point that we’re thinking about going back to the creek while it’s warm.”

Even at the creek, Oliphant and Perez lived in relative comfort with the help of Oliphant’s carpentry skills. He built a bed-frame with working drawers to help the couple keep their clothes clean.

Oliphant has a vocational cabinet-milling certificate and the know-how to fix cars, engines, and ranches. He also has experience working with horses. The only thing he doesn’t have is a driver’s license. He never did the classes for a DUI a few years back, but Perez has her license and is more than willing to drive Oliphant to work if the opportunity arises.

Really, all they’re looking for is a place to park their RV in exchange for work, a cheap car with better gas mileage to help them get from job to job, and eventually a roof over their heads so the couple can grow old together in comfort.

Send offers of assistance to homelessproject@newtimesslo.com.

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