Man moves into home after 26 years on the streets
(KATV) Little Rock - The first week in February, Channel Seven took you to homeless camps, where volunteers were counting the unsheltered in Central Arkansas.
Today, we introduce you to one of them, but things have changed. Glenn Edward Fought is now the proud owner of a set of keys to an apartment after calling the streets of Central Arkansas home for 26-years.
KATV's Katherina Yancy started the day picking out clothes with Eddie at The One Inc. headquarters in Little Rock. Eddie walks through the aisles, "I'm going to have to clean all the clothes out of my backpack, get them hung up and get everything straightened out."
It's a big day, and there's a lot to do. "If I don't do it and help myself, I can't get any help from anybody else."
Aaron and Lane Reddin have collected donations for Eddie's apartment.
Eddie points, "I like the chairs. Table, I like that too."
Today is a milestone, made possible by a great support group. Eddie tells Aaron, "Without you and your wife, I don't know if I would have made it. I love you for that; you always took care of me."
Eddie has been homeless for 26 years. He is going home to an apartment that happens to be across the street from his last home. "It's something you will never forget. I just got off from work one day, went home, went in, there wasn't anything to come home to."
Eddie's wife died a year earlier. He says he left and never looked back. "Home didn't seem like home, it wasn't home, it was just an empty house."
On the streets, Eddie suffered through the weather and street crime, some days were good, most were bad. "There were a lot of times I wanted to give up. Just say the heck with it."
He says there are more homeless women and children than people realize. "I took food out of my own mouth to feed the kids. I'd go several days without eating myself to help them out."
He acknowledges he's been arrested and says a reason he couldn't get off the streets is because he was his own worst enemy. "Thought I knew everything but I really didn't know anything."
But Eddie's attitude changed when he meet Aaron, president of the One Inc. Aaron spends his days and nights making sure people have tents, clothing, food and resources for jobs and healthcare.
Eddie says, "They pulled me out of the dump and I love them to death and I'm so proud to have them for a friend."
He is unpacking and getting adjusted. It took about 6-months to get financially ready. In that time, Eddie has stopped drinking. "You know I really can't describe the feeling. I feel great about it but with me being out on the streets so long, I'm going to have to get used to living in a house again. I consider myself a lucky man, luckiest man in the world."
His words of encouragement to others are simple. "If I can do it, they can do it."
His support group continues to grow. Eddie's landlord says he can stay as long as he wants. "I love you Eddie, welcome to our neighborhood. I don't care what his past was; everybody deserves a second chance in life." Eddie smiles, "I agree."
Little Eddie, as he is affectionately called, is ready to be a bigger part of his daughter and elderly father's life. Plus, he wants to volunteer with his new family at The One Inc.
Today, February 7 happens to be Little Eddie's 57th birthday.
Aaron Reddin, President of The One Inc., has also started growing food to feed people in need. For that Channel Seven story, click here.