HOUSTON – Houston is coming together in a big way to help a man get back on his feet after long-term homelessness.
It all started with Ginger Jones Sprouse. She began helping Victor about four months ago after stopping to speak with him.
She'd seen for weeks at the same spot on the corner of El Camino Real and Nasa Road 1 in Clear Lake.
She learned Victor was homeless, and he needed help. And she was there.
Since that first meeting, Sprouse has raised thousands of dollars via a GoFundMe account to help him find stable housing, a job and health care.
If you would like to join the effort to help Victor, visit the GoFundMe page. It features a touching introduction to Victor and his photo: “This is Victor…(he is) a beautiful soul that stands on the corner of El Camino Real and Road 1 in Clear Lake Texas. Hundreds of people drive past him every week and wonder what in the world his story might be....He stands and looks, taps the pole, squints, dances, waves and sometimes just stares. He is a sweet, gentle man that happens to be mentally ill. If you have ever heard the term ‘falling through the cracks,’ he is the definition. Police, fire, local city mental health resources know of him. Know him very well in fact. He has family in the area that decline to help him. It is told his mother dropped him on the corner and told him to wait for her to come back. He believed her. So he waits, and waits and waits. So we, as a community are coming together to find him the mental health help he needs. That is priority one, once we get him stable in that regard it is my desire to see him in a peaceful home with friends to support him, and even a job. If you want to meet someone who is eternally optimistic, positive and humble go visit him. He will out-bless you every time.”
Since that first posting on GoFundMe, Sprouse has created a companion Facebook page with updates about Victor’s progress. Victor now lives with Sprouse, has two jobs – one at Burger Nation and one at Sprouse’s business, Art of the Meal. Victor also recently had his eyes checked, and, with the help of Sprouse – always with the help of Sprouse – he finally has identification.
In a Facebook post on the This is Victor Facebook page a few weeks ago, Sprouse got “real” and voiced some of her concerns about Victor’s future. She said, “I really rack my brains about what to do with Victor long-term because I know that you guys, like me, when you don’t see him standing on the corner, and you don’t see him daily that you know, we tend to go about our business and we forget about things, and so I know, that eventually, a lot of the financial support and those kind of things fade away, and I’ve told Victor and everyone I know, basically, that as far as I’m concerned, he’s in my life forever. I told him, I said until we’re dead, you know, I’m here. We’re family.
“And so, I’m not going to lie, it’s hard,” she said. “It’s really stressful. It’s hard on my marriage, it’s hard on my children. I try to be balanced, and make sure that everybody has the time and love and attention they deserve and you know, I’m not going to lie, but there’s lots of days that I feel like, at the end of the day that somebody didn’t get what they needed. And that’s important to me because I want all of the people I love to feel like they’re getting my very best. And so I struggle a lot with the thing with Victor. It consumes a lot of my time. I also have a business that I run. Sprouse urges people to come to her business not only to spend time with Victor, but to help her help support him. She said, “It’s important for him to have a paycheck and have something tangible and not just me, handing him money because it gives him a sense of self-worth. I hope that you hear my heart that I am not using him to promote my business or anything like that. That’s never been my intent. I just look at it and the only way that I know how to support him is for me to work harder, and I’m willing to do that. …Usually when I get in that place, I go to the lord and I ask him to provide and then I get my feet on the ground and I get busy.”
Following that post, Sprouse helped coordinate a community block party for Victor, which had more than 200 guests.
The latest update on the GoFundMe page has positive news for Victor, as well. He is off the street and making fewer visits to the corner.