Jan 28: Over the weekend I saw Robert and we went to buy him a cell phone. He choose a pre-paid Samsung phone and it
has already changed his life as he's able to search for information and also watch movies from Amazon as it came with his phone package. Before the phone I drove him past the Father McKenna Center which can help him with his ID situation. Robert really wanted to stay in a hotel room to 'clean up and watch TV' so he found a good deal and did so for two nights. He is making another effort to get his ID this week so we will see what progress he makes.
Jan 22: I went to Franklin Park today and to the shelter center at the church at 1313 New York avenue but didn't see Robert. I called Mykita who works with homeless staff at Pathfinder's and she had not seem him today either. Some good news: The Go Fund Me site had some tech issues that were resolved after several emails back and forth. The funds have now been transferred into the new account that was created for Robert. The debit card arrived today so Robert can get some help sovery soon including a cell phone, some more clothes, and a night in hotel as he said last week: "I just want to shower and to have my own space to watch some TV".
Jan 19: Hopefully you saw the update that we saw Robert in the park and went for tea. Still waiting for bank account to beset up and for Robert to get his social security #.
Jan 16 Update:
Hello. I visited Robert this week at Franklin park in downtown DC. The picture was taken at the park. Robert was wearing
the jacket I had given him so made it easier to spot him.
He was in good spirits and we had a nice chat. He still has not got his new social security card/# though. We talked that the quickest way to get him money was to have me open a new account dedicated to him and transfer the donations from here into it. Ill then give Robert increments of cash till her gets his social security info and a photo ID, so he can open his own bank account and the money can be transferred there. This seems the best way to go in light of his situation and what he's shared with me with his family.
Later this week a staff person, based at the church on New York avenue (which has a homeless to housing service based in it), called me with Robert next to her. He was more frustrated that day but still good to talk with him.
The staffer is Mykita who I'd met before and is helping Robert too. I gave her the email address I created for Robert and sharing that here with you in case you want to send a message for a hello: [email redacted].
When I went to the church center a couple of weeks ago it seemed really well designed. Here is more info:
Does anyone know of a place to buy a cheap but solid cell phone including pre-paid? This will help Robert a lot and any info would let me get it done for him.
Thanks for any advice and prayers as well.
Jan 10 update:
Hi all. I have been away on a student career trip to NYC which Robert knew about. We missed each other by phone yesterday but hopefully we will connect soon. His son may be the best person to transfer the money as he lives locally to DC. If not, then it will mean either waiting for Robert's ID and Social Security card to arrive or for me to open an account for him to more quickly get him the funds. More soon. Scott
Jan 4th: I saw Robert yesterday and we spend about four hours together. He is fun and fascinating to talk to. Some highlights and key items:
FROM ROBERTS LIFE: He was at Woodstock and heard Jimi Hendrix. He said he's traveled to Ghana, Mexico, Brazil and Panama. He used to work in Banquets at the Mayflower Hotel before going into home construction and building interiors including working on a still open Ethiopian restaurant on 9th street.
FROM OUR TIME on JAN 3rd: After meeting we went to two banks to see what it would take to open an account for him (See below for more on this front). We went to Macy's to get him a new backpack as his had been stolen this week while he slept. We also got him a wallet too. We went to CVS and got him toiletries and such. We then went to the National Press Club for tacos to talk more.
CHALLENGES: He has no photo ID and his social security was lost so he ordered another one. Till he gets both items there is no way to open a traditional bank account. I created an email for him as that will be needed according to Go Fund Me to get his money.
JOBS?: Robert wants to work and this weekend had a small construction job to help with in the area. Do you have any jobs he can? Robert can lay backsplash, tile, concrete, do roofing, and general contractor work. Let me know if so and ill help get him the word.
EMAIL: If you have any ideas on how to best get Robert the money raised please send me a message via Go Fund Me or comment on the campaign page. If you want to send Robert a message you can email him as the address below which I created this week but he hasn't yet logged into and seen. But he will soon! His new email address is: [email redacted]
Overall, Robert was upbeat and thankful. He is legitimately so enjoyable to talk to and spend time with as well. Thank you. Scott
UPDATE Jan 2: Happy new year. I’ve spoken to Robert a couple of times this week and we hope to meet face to face tomorrow/Friday. I also spoke with her daughter but it was brief as i was traveling in the Shenandoah area and get poor cell signal. We are getting Robert an email account which will help with Go Fund Me transfers. Scott
ANOTHER UPDATE: I spoke to Robert Sunday and he isn’t going to be seeing his daughter as expected. She may be calling me and I hope so. Shall report more then. We are working to get Robert an ID so it will be easier for him to open an account and receive the funds. (any suggestions on this front are welcome as Go Fund Me has particular steps to take depending on the type of beneficiary. So please take a look at what they say in the guidelines and share what you think is best. Send me a message or post a comment) If I don’t meet him in person before the New Year then I will be doing so afterwards. -Scott Talan
UPDATE: Robert Fox just called me after getting my number from the Post reporter. His daughter is coming to see him tomorrow! An uncle saw the story and got in touch with her and then she with Robert through a friend if his at the park. I hope to be speaking with her soon and meeting Robert too. When I told him how much had been raised he was stunned and surprised. Then said ‘God Bless and to all who helped’.
I read an article in the Post about Robert not having $27 for a bus ticket to see his daughter who lives outside Fredericksburg, Va. It was written by John Cox and was published on Christmas Day. Here’s an excerpt:
Fox figured he should take a Greyhound bus from Union Station to Fredericksburg, where he planned to call her. She would be angry, he said, because they hadn’t talked in so long, but he was certain she would forgive him.
“I know she’s going to say, ‘Dad, I’m on my way to get you,’ ” he said. “I know it.”
The bus ticket cost only $27, but he hadn’t learned that yet. He kept all that he owned — snacks, a jug of lemonade, extra socks — in three bags, and on Monday afternoon, he spent his last 62 cents on a Newport cigarette that he smoked down to the filter.
He was a newcomer to Franklin Square, where a historic school building facing the park once served as a shelter. He had heard the homeless were taken care of there and, too, that they took care of one another.