“I was praying to God to lead me to another job…,” said Angela. While praying and attending community college, one of Angela’s professors told her about a job fair and encouraged her to go, despite feeling emotionally exhausted. When she arrived, she met staff members from Mel Trotter Ministries (MTM) and received an application. “I kept hearing God say ‘MTM.’ I had the experience I could relate to and meet people where they are. I was once homeless and addicted to drugs. I could relate to the brokenness.”
Angela works as a Triage Specialist at Mel Trotter Ministries, helping guests get back on their feet by assisting them with obtaining necessary documents like Social Security and state ID. She once needed a helping hand, and now she is using her experience to help other people, like Rick Edinburg.
Rick grew up in the Gull Lake area with his sister, two brothers, and parents who have all passed away. He worked in demolition for over 20 years in Kalamazoo. He never married or had kids. “I like being by myself,” said Rick. He poured his whole life into his career.
In 2015, Rick was injured by a crane while working in demolition, and that is when the doctors uncovered his lung cancer.
During his years of demolition, he lived in a motel because he traveled so much for work. The life he built and the heart and soul he put into his job were torn down when his friend that owned the demolition business, retired. Rick was left without work and because his housing was paid for through his job, he lost that too. He was able to stay with his friend for a while but eventually left. As challenges mounted, he showed up at the steps of Mel Trotter Ministries. He landed at MTM because he couldn’t find work in Kalamazoo despite visiting many temp agencies and being in and out of the hospital for cancer treatments.
Angela has been a monumental part of Rick’s journey. She stuck with him from the beginning to help him get what he needed so together, they could end his homelessness once and for all. Angela knew for Rick, that meant his housing. “I only want a chair, a bed, maybe a microwave, and a radio,” he said. “Nothing fancy.”
Angela walked with him each step of the way by scheduling and rescheduling his doctor appointments and helping him obtain all the necessary documents and income he’d need including a birth certificate, Social Security, food stamps, state ID, and medical insurance. She was his biggest advocate in getting him signed up for SSI and ultimately, into permanent housing.
Securing housing is not an easy task, but Angela communicated with various property managers to get Rick into a forever home. “I continued to lift up Mr. Edinburg…encouraged him to hold when he wanted to give up,” said Angela.
As she smiled and patted him on the sleeve, Rick looked at her and sighed a huge sense of relief, believing their collective prayers were about to be answered. “I’m excited to totally relax. That is all I care about,” he said.
Even though the process was daunting, the day had finally come – Angela found Rick a place to call home! He almost didn’t believe he had a place of his own. He said, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” and Angela reminded him, “believe it.”
Rick signed the paperwork, was given a tour, and got handed the keys to his new place. Through tears, Angela said, “He is officially out of homelessness. One life at a time. Neither of us could have done it without our Lord and Savior. I am just a servant of God.”