Updated with information from Millionair Club:
While Christmas shopping in downtown Ballard, we couldn’t help but notice a man sweeping in front of Starbucks on Market Street with a bucket set out for donations. His name is Tim, and his two Jack Russell Terriers, Zeta and Rico, sit on their blanket nearby
Tim tells us that he’s newly homeless. For the last two months, he and his “babies” have been living out of his Ford truck. “I was scared to death,” he tells us after he lost his job helping a well-to-do apartment owner. Since then he’s been trying to earn money here and there. Tim says he’s not the kind of person to sit on a corner begging for money. “I have to be doing something,” Tim says. He says the Millionair Club has nothing for him until after the new year. Tim Takechi with Millionair Club says they sometimes have to close down the application process. “We cannot always accept every single application because at times there are not enough jobs to go around,” Takechi tells us. “Approximately 100 jobseekers come through our doors every day, so we have to periodically close down the application process so our existing participants can find work.”
Unsure of what life would bring him, Tim took his last $26 out of the bank and bought a broom, bucket and garbage bags. For the last two weeks he’s been cleaning up Ballard’s business district. He is amazed at how well-received he’s been. “Everyone in Ballard is so friendly,” Tim laughs. An employee of a local business says Tim is a welcome addition to downtown. She says the sidewalk in front of her shop has never looked better and Tim is a delight to talk to.
Everything Tim owns is neatly packed away and organized in his truck – a bin for clean clothes, a bin for hygiene supplies, a bin for dog stuff and more. But Tim asks that you don’t feel sorry for him; he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. “It could be a lot worse,” he says, explaining that he has his two dogs that he loves dearly and a truck to live in. Some people don’t have all that.
Tim tells us that he is an excellent painter. He was responsible for painting apartments and doing odd jobs when he was employed. Like many newly-homeless unemployed Americans, he says he’s trying to raise money so he can get back on his feet. He gets $600 from the state each month for disability, but that’s not enough to survive on. “As soon as I get housing I’ll be fine,” he says.
If you’re interesting in helping Tim, visit Care Movement, our experiment that helps connect needs in the news with people who want to help.