How Star of Hope helped 110 homeless men get off streets

HOUSTON,Texas (KTRK) -- Kenneth Eakins takes the same route every day.

He drives down the streets so many avoid, under the overpasses and abandoned lots east of downtown Houston.

"I have this tagline that I say a lot," he explained. "We're going where love has not yet arrived."

Eakins is an Outreach Case Manager for the Star of Hope Mission.

He's been driving the "Love in Action" van for the past five years.

On the surface, his job is simple - bring blankets, water, and hygiene kits to homeless men and women.

But, his work is about so much more than the necessities.

"It's really an invitation to get to know their story, to find out what their needs are, and to kind of help them make and discern together what those next steps are," he explained.

Just last year, Eakins convinced 110 men to get off the streets and into programs.

William Starr is one of them.

"Considering what I did with my life, I'm 58 years old, I've messed up, but God gave me another chance. I want to do the best I can and make it right," said Starr, who is now working to secure permanent housing.

Others, like Thomas Ratliff, came to the shelter on their own.

"It was amazing." Ratliff said. "When I started going to the G.E.D. classes and learning things, it was like a new high."

Ratliff has earned a G.E.D and a college degree since he walked into the Star of Hope rescue shelter back in 2010.

He now has a steady job and home.

"It's like when you walk on a job site and you see a flat slab of concrete over here and a big pile of lumber over here," Ratliff explained. "You got to do it one stick at a time. That's the way life is."

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