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Homeless man regrets mother died without seeing him stable

One Roof, a nonprofit,is one of the organizations working to end homelessness and hunger in Central Alabama.

Most Americans will gather with their loved ones next Thursday for a warm Thanksgiving feast.

But for others, Thanksgiving is just another day of homelessness and hunger.

Hundreds of people are currently homeless in Central Alabama.

A Birmingham man, living on the streets for years, tells me how it happened to him. And needless to say, it was never part of his life's plan.

I met Jaulon Holloway for the first time tonight at Kelley Ingram Park. His sweatshirt and pants were battered from what appeared to be years of hard wear. Sitting to his left were two small bundles of his belongings. I asked Jaulon about his goals, a question that now seems misplaced.

"Just to make it through the night," he said with a telling laugh. "A lot of people have goals. I do too. But, right now I just want to survive 'til tomorrow."

The 41-year-old tells me he has a Bachelor's Degree in social work but has been living on and off the streets for ten years after a drug addiction that began in college. He became homeless when his mother put him out of her house.

"It was the best thing she ever did...for her and for me."

He says it was a homeless person who taught him how to survive on the streets.

"The drum trail," he calls it. "You go from Salvation Army to Jimmie Hale. From there to the Firehouse."

But, Jaulon tells me over the years things have changed, and food is harder to get.

"You have to adapt to the situation just to get fed."

Right now, One Roof, a nonprofit fighting hunger and homelessness in Central Alabama, is teaming up with restaurants around the city to raise money during National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week. Since Saturday eateries like Tropicaleo, a Puerto Rican restaurant on 4th Avenue South, have been donating a portion of their proceeds to help the cause.

Junior Board member, Sherri Ross, says in Central Alabama 1,092 people have nowhere to lay their head on any given night.

"It's a stresser to decide where you're going to lay your head for the night," says Ross.

Meanwhile, Jaulon, still unsure of his next move, does know this:

"What would make me proud of me is to be sober. And today, I had that. Hopefully, I'll try again tomorrow."

To learn more about One Roof, or to make a donation, visit www.oneroofonline.org.

**Tropicaleo restaurant is open until 1 a.m., and will continue donating part of proceeds until they close.


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