Former KSU employee launches GoFundMe to finish school


Former Kent State employee Maurice Holden and his wife Carol Holden sit on the second floor of the Student Center on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. The couple are currently homeless and have a GoFundMe to raise money for housing. 

Alyssa Schmitt

With backpacks laying on the ground and books in tow, Maurice Holden and his wife Carol look like average Kent State students sitting in the Student Center. Just one fact separates them from the people sitting down the row: they’re homeless.

Instead of backpacks filled with school supplies, their bags are filled with a change of clothes, bath materials and a Bible.

The couple hasn’t lived under their own roof since April 15, when they lost their apartment near The University of Akron. They couldn’t keep up with their rent after Holden quit his custodial job at Kent State following a disagreement about his work record.

Holden verbally told his manager that he was no longer going to continue working on Jan. 26, 2015, and the university terminated him on Jan. 30 for “no call, no show,” according to documents obtained by KentWired.

Going into their second month with no place to live, Holden came across Chauncy’s Chance, a GoFundMe account dedicated to helping a boy named Chauncy get a bed and clothes that has now raised $341,976.

“When I saw that story I said, ‘why not me? I want to do this,’ ” Holden said. “So I started writing my story.”

At first his rough draft was choppy, and he asked for $350,000 — an amount he received a lot of backlash for.

“Everybody said ‘You just want somebody to take care of you,’ ” Holden said. “That’s not the case. I really am homeless, we really are struggling. I want to go back to school. I’m very passionate about finishing my degree because I will be the first in my family to get my college degree.” 

As of Oct. 12, Holden’s GoFundMe account has raised $330 of his $25,000 goal He said this amount will help him return to school to finish his degree in computer engineering, but also pay off the his debt, which has accumulated to $9,505. 

The majority of his debt came from attending school, but late fees from not being able to pay rent or unlock a storage locker — where a majority of their belongings are — have added to the total sum.

Carol, who has a bachelor’s degree from Kent State, uses the computers in the library daily to search for jobs.

“It’s not as easy as you think it is,” she said. “Once you get a job, you have to save money for a down payment and first month’s rent.”

While they wait to get enough money, the couple moves from the Student Center to the library for shelter during the week, and often find themselves sleeping a few hours a day at each location.

During the time they are awake, they read and spend time on the computers to keep their minds active.  

“The night time is the longest. The daytime isn’t that bad because you can find things to do. But at night it’s just so long,” Carol said. “All you can think of is a nice warm bed because you can’t get that. That’s the one thing about being out here: You think about everybody else going to their apartment or home. And you don’t have that anymore.”

Even after being homeless and living on the streets, Holden hopes the GoFundMe account will gather enough money for him to return and finish a bachelor degree in computer engineering so he can help those who are struggling like him.

“I still have that passion to get my degree,” Holden said. “I will finish, no matter what. I’m going to get my degree and my master’s and doctorate (degrees).”

Alyssa Schmitt is a contributing reporter, contact her at [email protected].