DC Homeless Man Is Dedicated To Caring For Other Homeless People

Charles Purcell tears up as he remembers the moment he decided his life would be dedicated to caring for other homeless people. (Caroline Patrickis/ABC7)

The coffee shop is gracious enough to let him set up in a warm space with some peace and quiet while he works online. Charles says he stays out of the way as much as possible.

His work on his social media pages includes spreading messages of encouragement and inspiration to anyone willing to read them. He also works on his campaign called Homeless United which advocates for homeless lives, which one day he hopes will turn into a nonprofit.

As you walk into the park where he sleeps, you can see others sleeping on their benches with suitcases and blankets piled around them.

“There’s my bench,” Charles says as he points out his.

“People have kind of named it, Charles’ bench, but I don’t claim it as such,” he laughed.

He has a positive attitude and is filled with laughter. But, he wasn’t always like that.

At one point, he said he wanted to give up. Until one day, “I walked past this homeless woman. She was asleep near the convenience store and she just had all of this stuff,” Charles remembers. “I just thought to myself, this country has so much wealth. Why are there people living like this?”

The 56-year-old explained at that moment, a spiritual voice spoke to him and said, “Now you know how I feel.”

From that moment, Charles has made it his mission to raise awareness that homeless lives matter. He used $100 that a stranger gave him to buy an Amazon tablet in order to start up Homeless United.

“Someone purchased a sweatshirt. Without the tablet, I would not be able to process the order” said Charles.

He started a t-shirt campaign a few years ago with a simple message on the shirts that reads “Please Raise Awareness: #Homelesslivesmatter.” He hopes to get it in the hands of anyone willing to wear it.

He uses the money donated to him, to in turn send people shirts.

His goal is to one day own a non-profit that will help him help the homeless community.

People as far away as Denmark, Canada and Australia have them. In the beginning, he was panhandling. He used signs of inspiration to encourage anyone to give.

One sign in particular read “today is another second chance.”

Charles said “a tourist came by, he looked at me. He handed me $20 and said ‘I needed that today.

“No matter what your situation is in life. You can be an inspiration or encourage someone else in life.”

Even if don’t have much to give.

“Just show some kindness, say hello. Even if you don’t have anything to give, just acknowledge their presence. Say hello, how are you, have a nice day.”

What do you think?


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