Homeless man says support helps: 'I've seen so many who have lost hope'
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) —
For the last year, the streets of Huntington have been home for Kane Robinson.
At just 19 years old, Robinson was left homeless following a dispute with family and has since lived a life that is dirty, tiring, and dangerous when temperatures drop to single digits, and a layer of ice is the only place to bed down at night.
"It's like you've got the flu super bad, and you can't stop shaking,” Robinson said. “You just can't stop."
Robinson said losing a year to the streets isn't the worst part of his experience.
Losing friends he has met along the way to cold and drug overdose, has been worse.
"He did it on purpose, and he was like family," Robinson said recalling a friend’s recent death by overdose.
Lawmakers announced Thursday the federal government approved $8.3 million to help people such as Robinson in West Virginia.
That money is heading to 63 different programs across the state such as Harmony House in Huntington.
"How can you dream when you can't make it through the day?" Development Director Bill Rosenberger said.
Rosenberger said roughly $2 million will help with donations and services, but most will go to long-term housing assistance, helping the homeless find shelter and counseling them to stay there.
"What we don't want to happen is to send you out there on your own with a key, and that's exciting, but with no support you end up back at the shelter in six months," Rosenberger said.
That is the program Robinson is in right now.
"It gives me a reason to wake up," he said.
Robinson said with a roof over his head he can shower, eat and apply for work giving him hope that he, and other chronically homeless people in Huntington, can turn a new lease on life.
"I've seen so many people who have lost hope. That's mainly what I'd like to see is them gain their hope back," Robinson said.