MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Overton Park in Midtown is probably not the place you think about as someone’s home, especially being outdoors. But unfortunately, this is home if you’re one of hundreds of homeless people living in Memphis.
Bobbie Henderson comes to the park to walk two miles and sees it all the time.
“I’ve seen several homeless people out here from time to time. You usually seen them for maybe a couple of months and they will move on,” said Henderson.
For the past six years, one man we’ll simply call Kevin had been staying in Overton Park. Kevin has been homeless for more than ten years.
“Homelessness is always taking place. There’s always the loss of job, violence within a family unit. You name it, there’s trauma taking place,” said Jessica Houari, Director of Program Operations at the Hospitality Hub.
The street outreach team with the Hospitality Hub, which works to end homelessness and connects individuals with resources they need to begin their journey from being unhoused, met Kevin last summer.
At first, he was reluctant about getting help as many homeless people can be.
“Most people don’t accept our services on our first visit,” Houari said. “It very well may be they have a distrust of the system or there may be people who’ve come around to offer support with ulterior motives in mind.”
After several months of building a relationship and trust with Kevin, the Hospitality Hub worked with him to get his drivers license and a birth certificate. That was the easy part. The next goal was to start working on his housing.
They couldn’t always find Kevin, but they finally got him housing, helped get him on food stamps, and gave him a TV and other household items.
Back to Overton Park, many are glad to learn that Kevin now has a real home.
“He’s got food and shelter and a place to wash and that’s good thing. Anytime you can get a homeless person off the street, that’s a good thing,” said Henderson.
Kevin has a new lease on life thanks to the Hospitality Hub for never giving up hope to help Memphians who sometimes just need a helping hand.
“What we are trying to do is just give them their dignity back, their choice of what it is they want to do and build up that humanity again,” Houari said.
WREG did try to talk with Kevin, but he said he wasn’t comfortable being interviewed on TV. However, he did want to share his photos and story with others.
Learn more about the Hospitality Hub and how you can get involved here