LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - For the people who have lost their jobs and homes as a result of the pandemic, Richard Shirley is trying his best to make a change while walking across the United States.
“It started when COVID hit,” Shirley said. “I actually lost my business, and then, I got evicted. And then, they sold my tools. So, I started saying I got to do something instead of giving up, I had to figure out a way to help myself and help others at the same time.”
Homeless in Miami, he knew he had to do something.
“Okay, well a homeless actually averages around 15 to 20 miles a day, just moving. So, might as well go all around.”
He’s walking 100,000 miles, all around the country - from Florida, to California, to Washington, to New York ending his journey at the Florida Keys.
“I figured if I’m going to do it, might as well do it to where it is memorable, so that’s how I started to go walk all the way around,” Shirley said. “Something where it catches people’s eyes and lets them see this is actually what a homeless has to go through.”
Documenting his journey on Facebook, he’s trying to make an impact while helping those in the same circumstances he’s in.
“I’m trying to build a shelter to where it has 6 to 12 months’ worth of housing. It also has job training, job placement, gives them - everybody the ability to get back to a quality life,” Shirley said. “We all can fall at any given time. I’ve been hearing, in all these states, they’re still evicting people. They’re still losing jobs or not getting jobs back. Those are the ones really looking for it.”
He’s battled hurricanes, and he is currently walking with the risk of the pandemic. But he explained he’ll continue until his goal is met.
“The hurricanes, the pandemic, we’re in it. We can’t just let life go backward, or just hide and not do something,” Shirley said. “To me, starting it when I did, during the hurricane season, during the pandemic is showing we all can come together and do something. It takes all of us to get together and do something.”
Shirley hopes to have completed his journey by May 2022.
To keep up-to-date on where he is, or to help with his cause, click HERE.