#humanimpact: Austin style

Our work is so simple. We go meet our homeless friends where they are, set aside assumptions, listen, and listen, and listen some more, and we love. We want to share the story below with you, sent to us from a couple who was inspired by the mission and heart of The Human Impact to care for a homeless man in their own city, Austin, Texas.

If you have a story like this, we would LOVE to hear it! Our work can happen anywhere, and we would love to know about your #humanimpact wherever you are. Email us info@thehumanimpact.org.

Written by Gentry Bowen

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My then-fiance Margaret and I first met Robert last summer when I moved to downtown Austin. 

He sat on a bench in front of our apartment complex, smiling and waving to everyone who walked by. You would not have known he was homeless if not for his clothes and his bags. His friendly demeanor and smile drew us into easy conversation. 

Robert shared his story with me, how he lost his lucrative job in the oilfields in East Texas, lost his house and two cars when his wife divorced him, and how he fell into drinking. He came to Austin working an odd job at a power plant and was abandoned by his colleague with nothing. All of this happened in a town foreign to him, and as a result, he ended up on the streets. 

After this conversation and connection with him, Margaret and I wanted to put a backpack together for him, but when we tried to bring it to him he had disappeared. We looked for him for months but assumed he had moved on and hoped that he was okay, thinking and praying for him often. 

Then last Saturday (6 months later), we ran into Robert while on a walk on Town Lake. Beaming, he remembered our names and asked how our wedding went. He told us he had been sober since we last saw him and was helping out his fellow homeless friends, earning the nickname "homeless Superman” in the community. We asked what he needed, and he told us he really needed a tent because of all the rain that was coming this week. We went and bought him a tent and brought the backpack we had put together for him months before. We sat and talked with him for 2 hours and he said he felt like God was lining everything up to get back on his feet and we were a large part of that. Then we got this text from him today:

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The Human Impact has helped to show us how simple it is to reach out and make a personal connection with someone who is homeless. This experience really impacted us, in addition to Robert. We are really thankful for our new friend.