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 have been homeless 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.
Going into their second month with no place to live, the Holdens came across Chauncy’s Chance, a GoFundMe account dedicated to helping a boy named Chauncy get a bed and clothes that raised $341,976.
“When I saw that story I said, ‘why not me? I want to do this,’” Maurice 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,’” Maurice 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.”
Currently, Maurice’s GoFundMe account has raised $210, with a goal to reach $25,000. He said this amount will help him return to school to finish his degree in computer engineering, as well as pay off his debt that 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 Holden, who has a bachelor’s of sociology from Kent State, uses the computers in the library daily to search for jobs.
“It’s not as easy as you think it is,” Carol Holden 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 Holden 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, Maurice Holden hopes the GoFundMe account will gather enough money for him to return and finish a bachelor’s degree 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 masters and doctorates.”
Alyssa Schmitt is a senior reporter, contact her at [email protected]