Tommy "Chapter Two: Tommy's Home - I Feel Loved"

Photography by    Randy Bacon

Photography by Randy Bacon

Written by Larissa, Movement Director for 7 Billion Ones


We shared the first chapter of Tommy’s story on 7 Billion Ones in 2016 (read Chapter 1 at the bottom of this page). Tommy had been homeless for about six months at the time we interviewed him for his story in late 2015. Last week, he unlocked the front door to his new home and slept in a bed of his own for the first time in three years. Tommy is the first resident of the new and first tiny home village here in Springfield, Missouri called 'Eden Village'. By the end of the year, they will house thirty residents in the remaining beautiful tiny homes (400 sq ft), and also begin work on the second tiny home village (more info here). Watching Tommy climb his front porch steps, unlock the door and walk into his home for the first time with hundreds of people applauding, cheering and crying was such a remarkable and truly heartfelt moment of humanity and fulfilled hopes and dreams.

Tommy in front of his home  (Image by Shelly Schatz)

Tommy in front of his home (Image by Shelly Schatz)

A few days ago when I saw Tommy again, I asked him how he was feeling and what it was like his first week in his own home. He said, “It’s so weird! I have so much space to myself, and my own porch. I love it. I feel so loved and like I’m somebody. It’s taking some getting used to for sure though, you know? I’m not sleeping well yet but I know that’ll change soon, just takes a while to remember what it’s like to not have to worry about somebody stealing your stuff or bothering you when you sleep.” He told me he loved sitting on his porch in the morning with coffee and that he’d like to be the one to make me a cup of coffee after the years of us brewing coffee when Tommy stopped into the studio often. I called him a day later to set up a time, and in a few days, I’ll have the privilege of accepting Tommy’s invitation to sit on his porch and drink a cup of coffee that he’s going to make this time. In Tommy’s words from his story shared three years ago on 7 Billion Ones, we’re going to “appreciate the moments” together that may seem small, but are filled with hope, community, friendship and compassion. My heart is full. Tommy, our dear friend, we are so overjoyed for you. Congratulations on your new home. Thank you for being love. You deserve love too. Welcome home.

September 2018

Larissa and Tommy ( Dec 2017 )

Larissa and Tommy (Dec 2017)

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Tommy's Story "Appreciate The Moments"

I’ve been homeless since December, 2015. I’ve been homeless now longer than I would have expected to be. I lost my job, and I figured I could just get a new job, but it’s just turned out to be a little harder than I expected. Then, I keep losing things, you know, having them stolen from me, and then losing my hopes of being able to keep a job or something because it’s hard to keep a job when you haven’t got the phone to get the work orders and things like that. A person really don’t realize what they expect, and what happens is a lot of different things, you know, by just the circumstances of life.

The hardest thing about being homeless is not being able to help other people. Seeing other people homeless and wanting to do something for them and maybe give them a place to stay for the night or a ride or something like that. It’s just hard for me because I like to help people.

7 billion ones, randy bacon, the road I call home, homeless, homelessness, gathering friends for the homeless

I would like people to know that I’m not this way normally. I would like for them to know that I do have aspirations in life, to have a home, to pay my bills, to just be a part of the human race, the normal, I guess you could say, human race. What we’re all expected to be. We’re all expected to work and get our own food and I want to be part of that.

Being homeless has taught me to not be so proud and so prideful to think it could never happen to you, because you’re just a step away from it every day. Something can happen, someone can die in your life, sickness could happen to befall you, thousands of reasons homelessness could happen. Appreciate the moments and be thankful. And be thankful for the bad times.

My dream is to get off the street. Be able to give back for the opportunities I’ve been given. And things people have helped me with and everything, I’d like to be able to give that back to other people that need it worse than I do even to this day.

I want people to just be aware that homeless people are people too. That they care and they love. They’ve got families and everything else, and they may just be broke up with them right now. It’s just a lesson from the Father above you know, it’s just something they gotta learn that they haven’t learned yet.  Maybe when they learn that they’ll get set right off the street.

I think there’s always a lesson we just don’t get somewhere in our lives. God is just going to keep on trying to teach us this lesson, you know, until we get it. And then things change, that’s when our blessings come. Who knows, I may be on the street to help somebody. To learn something, for myself or for them. That lesson is I never thought I’d be homeless. I didn’t come from that type of family. My dad worked his poor little self to death, till his dying day worked his fingers to the bone you know to make sure that we got what we wanted and needed and everything. I would’ve never seen him homeless. But like I say, it can happen to anyone.

November 2016

Tommy's story is part of the major project 'The Road I Call Home' Exhibition and Film Series which presents the important stories of our special friends, who just happen to be homeless. Over 50 homeless friends' have been chronicled to date and we will continue to capture more stories on an ongoing basis. The project is in conjunction with     Gathering Friends for the Homeless     .      For more information on bringing the exhibit and films to your venue, please contact us      HERE

Tommy's story is part of the major project 'The Road I Call Home' Exhibition and Film Series which presents the important stories of our special friends, who just happen to be homeless. Over 50 homeless friends' have been chronicled to date and we will continue to capture more stories on an ongoing basis. The project is in conjunction with Gathering Friends for the Homeless.

For more information on bringing the exhibit and films to your venue, please contact us HERE