Homeless single dad criticized after online posting about holidays
BAYTOWN, TX (KTRK) -- There has been a nine percent increase in the number of homeless families in America in the past year, according to the US Conference of Mayors. And for many of them, the holidays are tough. That's certainly true for a single dad in Baytown, who says his hard luck story brought out some of the worst of the Internet.
Single dad Kevin Rogers and his seven-year-old daughter have been living at the Bay Area Homeless Services shelter for the last two months.
He said, "This was the only place that had a family room that would allow us here."
All of their belongings are stacked neatly in the one room they share, most of it donated to them through the shelter. But with the holidays coming up, Rogers posted his hard luck story on the Reddit website
"I was like, 'Toys for Tots isn't taking any more applications and is anyone in Houston hiring?' And people replied telling me, 'Hey you need to make your own post,'" Rogers said.
Posters quickly began to buy the seven-year-old gifts off of an Amazon wish list and it seemed, for a moment, there was an upturn in their fortunes.
"She wanted all kinds of educational, and arts and crafts toys," Rogers explained.
But just as quickly, Reddit users began to doubt his story, calling him a scammer, and accusing him of lying.
"For people to say that I'm lying about anything, it hurts," he said.
Rogers admits he's made bad choices in the past -- a 1994 misdemeanor drug conviction, and aggravated assault in 2006. But says he never lied about it.
Bill Eckert, the executive director of Bay Area Homeless Services, vouched for Rogers, saying from what he's seen, Rogers appears to be a good person and a good dad.
Regardless of what happens on the Internet, Rogers' second grade daughter will get a real-life merry Christmas, thanks to the shelter and the local folks who support it.
"We are very fortunate in Baytown to have a great community that supports us very well," Eckert said.
Rogers told us he landed a job on Wednesday. He adds that the Bay Area Homeless Services was the only shelter that would take him and his daughter together.
baytown, local, adela uchida
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