By Mario Anzuoni
I met Kelly Edwards on a street corner. He was not the average person you see at traffic lights; he was nicely dressed, freshly shaven with a professional demeanor, holding a sign that stated he was looking for work. I handed him my business card and kindly asked him to get in touch with me.
Given the job situation and the U.S. economy struggling to create new jobs, I was interested in knowing more. Two days later Kelly called. We spent an hour on the phone where he started to tell me his story. At that point I asked if I could spend a day with him to show an average day of job seeking; he agreed. About a week later, I arrived at Kelly’s home in West Covina where he greeted me with freshly brewed coffee.
Kelly Edwards is 54 years old, and has been unemployed since 2008. He put three kids through college and now lives with his wife Lynne and their 13-year-old son Kal-El. He has been a full time and part time employee, but never without a job. With two decades of experience in the food and beverage industry Kelly thought it would be a good idea to move from Portland to Los Angeles four years ago, but he is still without a full time position with the exception of a few handyman jobs.
With coffee mugs in our hand we headed into his office, where every morning, before heading out to his corner, he checks online for job postings. While I was there he sent out a few resumes; it was clear he has done this process many times. Then he led me to his shed as he needed to make an additional sign. Kelly is crafty so the sign was sturdy and ready to go in minutes. We arrived on his street corner, which he explained took three days to find. He also told me that street people are territorial about their corners and threatened him away from a few. The day was overcast but fortunately it didn’t rain. Kelly spent about three hours on his street corner receiving business cards, sometimes a little cash, giving out resumes and a little hope.