Lenny Shaw: Car Insurance/Registr'n

As you may know, my good friend and my kids’ “honorary uncle,” Lenny Shaw, age 61 - familiar to many in Malibu and Santa Monica as a kid-legendary-favorite substitute teacher (unfortunately bad at maintaining the quiet, neat classroom the administration required) during the late 1990s and early 2000s - is going to be living in his car starting next week.

However, his car is not registered, because he cannot afford the car insurance he must get before registering it. This means that the police can at any time take his car – even in the middle of the night.

Because of this, he was considering selling his car to rent a low-income place for a month or so, and using public transportation, but I convinced him that it would be worse in the long run to give up both anywhere-anytime mobility for potential employment, and guaranteed shelter.

So I told him I would create a Go-Fund-Me to raise the $500+ he needs for insurance, and $100+ he needs for registration. 

Lenny was skeptical that anyone would help, but I told him it is my faith that many of our friends, and most of us humans, are happy to help in at least some small way with a clearly defined and useful “hand up”.

My husband, Bob, and I (who have been close friends with Lenny for 39 and 25 years respectively), have begun and contributed to this fund, and have been helping in other ways as well. Lenny’s friend Philip (an aspiring minister who has known Lenny in passing since Lenny was his regular 6th-12th grade substitute teacher, and became his friend and ours when he became an adult, some 8 years ago), has also been a consistent help and true friend. Among the three of us, however, we are not able to pay for the full car insurance and registration.

Although Lenny has not wanted to admit how bad his situation had gotten, he has now faced it, and is spending every day actively working to improve his situation:

·      He has taken the honorable route of working with his apartment complex and turning off his services in advance, not trying to buy a few more days or weeks at the cost of both credit and self-respect.

 ·      He is both looking for work and meeting with public and private social services, so he will have enough for food and gas. He is open to suggestions for work, and is actively looking for house-sitting and pet-sitting in addition.

·      Long term, he is joining waiting lists for senior low-income housing, and will be eligible to collect early social security in a year or two.  

Bob and I put him on our cell phone plan, which includes internet access, so he will be able to continue looking for work. 

We’re also storing his belongings, and will host him on a regular basis until he can get back into an apartment or room. We’d do more if we could, but cannot for reasons that have nothing to do with him.

This Go-Fund-Me will be used specifically for car insurance and registration. If we raise a small excess, it will be used toward replacing his very-bad eyeglasses. If by chance we were to raise a large excess, I would open a savings account, to keep it available for one of three options:

 a)  Toward a first-last-and-deposit amount on an apartment or room;       

b)   Toward medical coverage (i.e., to take advantage of the current Obamacare-enrollment window); and/or

c)   Toward counselling-related expenses (since these are often key to getting on one’s feet, but are not available through social services or low-cost medical insurance).

 I will happily accept suggestions, if you feel strongly about which of these options excess money should go to.

Also, if you are willing to contribute to one of the above (car insurance/registration, eyeglasses, rent/deposit, medical coverage, counselling-related), but not another, please let me know, and I will ensure that your money is only used for what you request.

Please feel free to share this. Thank you so much.
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Joya Beebe 
Santa Clarita, CA
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