My dear friend Walter had the biggest smile when he showed me the keys. 7He couldn’t wait to give me a tour of his new place.19 A year ago he was enthusiastically showing me an alleyway where he slept. 12But now he had housing. Actual housing.8 This was after 15 long years living on the streets.24
I first met Walter when he was hobbling along with a shopping cart in Skid Row collecting recyclables. 1016439_10151920576178086_79349561_nHe always refused to panhandle or beg for money.21 He learned everything from his great grandmother back in Texas about the importance of honest work and respecting others. He spent nearly all his waking hours rummaging through the trash to earn a few dollars a day.13 Because he is so hard working, I’ve seen other homeless people often ask him for money. Because of his generous nature he tries to care for those around him.22 This gentle and beautiful man became one of my dearest friends.17 In the 3 years I’ve known him, he always looked out for me when I was down in Skid Row. He cared about me like a big brother. He also encouraged me when I needed it most.14 Through our friendship I got to understand just a little bit the struggles of living on the streets.15 Now he no longer has to sleep on the hard pavement littered with trash, broken needles, rats, and cockroaches.2716 He no longer has to worry about anyone stealing from him or assaulting him. He no longer has to brave the cold and harsh weather.23 As we stood together on the balcony, he reflected on his past as well as a new hope for the future.18
“Sometimes I can’t even believe it John” he said shaking his head “it’s like a dream.”

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