UPDATE - 27th June:
Due to the original outpouring of support, Tom and Rita put an end to their 16 day stint of camping at Whitewater state park after being evicted on the 13th June. They have been able to find a place here in Richmond and have now moved in. However, they still do not have Utilities, as they cannot be tranfered to the new location until the debt is cleared.
They are blown away by the help they received from this community and are expecting no more. But we think that $400, the amount needed to clear the final Utilities debt, is very possible to raise and would be so helpful to them.
Sadly, two members of the Earlham community, Tom Kealy who works as a cook for Sodexo, and his partner Rita, are in an unfortunate and urgent situation.
With eviction a week away and Utilities debt that denies access to Utilities even in a new location, Tom and Rita are facing homelessness. As Tom said, "at the present time, my household is packing and mentally preparing for the aspect of having to live in a tent somewhere...".
Tom has worked in SAGA for about five years and sustained a hernia injury at work. He tried to appeal for worker compensation benefits but these were repeatedly not processed, and the first two times no records were made of his attempts. He kept appealing and continued working- at one point being in such pain that he literally crawled on the floor to the general manager's office. After a protracted process, he was granted leave due to sickness but is finacially in dire straits because of his medical issues and is about to be evicted. The utilities in his apartment have been shut off and as he is in thousands of dollars of debt he will soon be homeless. He is on several waiting lists for homeless shelters and has limped to every government agency in Richmond and Centreville looking for help, without luck.
Tom is a beloved part of the Ealrham community, so supportive of the students that he works while injured to feed us. We are confident that the Ealrham community will support him as well.
Funds raised will go firstly toward paying for the campsite Tom and Rita have chosen to stay at temporarily. Next, funds will go toward clearing Utilities debt so that they can again access Utilites once in a new home.
Any amount donated will be a huge help.
For updates from Tom and others, check the Still Supporting Our Campus Workers Facebook group
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