Edward, who goes by “E.J.” is one of the first residents of the Wilson Men’s Hotel who is taking advantage of the services provided by Inspiration Corporation as a part of our new  partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Family and Supportive Services, Alderman James Cappleman and Bomberg Property Management.

E.J. has lived at the hotel about two years. “It’s not the Hilton, but there’s hot water, the plumbing works, it has everything I need for now.”

E.J. is in his mid-30s, and grew up in the South Shore neighborhood. He bounced around from job to job, came north “to follow a woman,” and likes it on this side of the city. He’s taken classes at a handful of community colleges in the city, but never finished enough for a degree or certificate. Due to his criminal background, he’s finding it hard to get a good job, and he still has unpaid student loans from the classes he has already taken.EJ Whetstone 004

He currently works as a bar-back at a restaurant, and at a convenience store on the weekends. It’s still barely enough to make ends meet, but E.J. is optimistic about cleaning up his past and improving his life. E.J. sees this as a new year and a new beginning. He’s working on making amends for his past, getting his loans worked out, establishing better credit, and wants to go back to school to pursue a business degree.

“I definitely want to do something in sales. I like being around people, talking to people, I feel like I’m a natural salesman.”

He’s been working for less than a month with his Case Manager, but already, he’s found Inspiration Corporation to be a tremendous help. He’s able to access meals and received some recent toiletry donations, which are invaluable to someone on a limited income.

“I couldn’t ask for a better program.”

Thanks to everyone involved for helping make this work possible. Keep an eye on this blog for updates to this program and for stories of other participants!