Meet Red

Red loves the Kansas City Chiefs, and will tell anyone willing to listen. He’ll also tell Vikings fans who don’t want to listen, which is part of what Red enjoys about coming to Peace House Community. After years of watching the Chiefs struggle, Red is delighted with their recent success. “Always cheered for the Chiefs when they started getting good. I used to not like them ‘cause they sucked for years, till they got Andy Reid. Everybody thought they were going to do good when they got Joe Montana and Marcus Allen, but they still sucked. They never got a good quarterback. They always got the old, burned up quarterbacks.”

Like his football team, Red went through many hard years before things started looking up. Homelessness and drug use made his life look something like the Chief’s losing record.

“I did a long time out on the streets. All the shelters, they know who I am, and they seen me turn my life around. They seen how bad I was, so thank God they helped me get my life straight. They helped me because a couple of times I got caught on the street using drugs, and I went to sober living, and when I got out I never looked back. It made me happy to get off the streets. I realized, man, you can’t party with your friends inside the apartment like you do outside, because you’ll lose the apartment. I seen all these people losing their apartments. I can’t do that. I fought with my girl, I lost a few apartments messing with my girl because we were on drugs at the time. I learned my lesson. I went through a lot of $%*&.”

Even in the darkest time, though, Red had some things going for him. His friend Arnold introduced him to PHC. “I used to go to the yellow house, the old Peace House when it was over on Franklin. I knew a lot of people who would go over there. This Peace House is good for people around here who are homeless. I think it keeps the crime down, to be able to help people out like this. You know, if they don’t have nothing to eat, they have to go steal something, they go to jail, and it ain’t worth it.”

PHC didn’t just help “people who are homeless”. It, and its founder Sister Rose, helped Red too. “I met Sister Rose. She was nice. We had good times. We had the Peace House picnics at the Minnehaha Falls and it was wonderful. Peace House has always been good.”
Eventually, Red started turning things around. It started with some teaching his mother had given him. “I’ll never forget my mother telling me, ‘Take care of yourself. That’s all you got to do.’”

So Red did start taking care of himself. He changed his life and, like the Chiefs, he stuck with it until it paid off. “I was on the streets for a long time, man, before I got housing. It took a lot of bad $#&% to go through before I realized I had to get off the drugs and get my life in order to get an apartment. I got off drugs and I wouldn’t let people in my apartment, because they were off the streets and they didn’t care about my apartment. They just wanted to do the drugs, but I quit the drugs. I’m doing way better than I ever did in my life. now I’m doing the best I ever did.”

Red’s success is even more impressive considering his wife of 20 years died of cancer on Sept. 10, 2020. Despite the heartache, Red stayed sober and kept his place. “I’m on Social Security and I pay my rent. It took me over seven years to get public housing and now that I got that I ain’t messing that up. I’ve been there over two years. So I’m doing good, the best I ever did in my life.”

Ever the Chiefs fan, Red thinks his team may have the same success that he has. “now we’ve got the best quarterback in the league, so I think we’ll win another Super Bowl. You watch.”