Jimmy Ray Smith
Jimmy is 71 years old, and he is the first person we were able to get into a home. In 2003, Jimmy’s wife died, causing his emotional and financial life to crash, leaving him homeless. For the past 12 years Jimmy has been without a home, but it’s very hard to tell. I don’t think I’ve ever met such a wonderful and lively soul. Monique, Kat, and Megan, case workers at the Renaissance Community Center, introduced Jimmy as the first person we would be able to get into home using the rapid rehousing program and money from donors. From the moment I met him, I knew Jimmy was a special human being. His lack of teeth didn’t stop him from gracing us with his enormous smile. When we told Jimmy that we had fundraised enough money to finally get him into a home, he broke down with tears of appreciation. “I love y’all so much, you have no idea. I know that I can call y’all my true friends”. Dancing his heart away in the shelter band was one of his favorite things to do. It makes too much sense that his favorite song is “Love and Happiness” by Al Green. Jimmy was the type of person that loved everyone and everything.
Jimmy had been stopped by one of the barriers that prevent people from moving back into a home. Jimmy had actually found a place to live and was able to pay monthly rent but didn’t have enough money at one time to pay the utilities deposit. Even though he was able to secure a steady income from monthly government checks , Jimmy stayed homeless for months. That’s where rapid rehousing came in. From one day to the next Jimmy was into a home. It was amazing that the process was so quick and efficient.