On the Street | Faces of the homeless, previously homeless and those still struggling

by Lisa Kane of Akron Snow Angels



Interview time! If you have been reading this column, you may notice that the last few have been from people living at the Second Chance Village. I interview someone, then meet someone else there that is amazing and want to interview them!

I’ve wanted to interview this man for a while. I’ve already met him, and always see him sitting at his desk at Second Chance. Every time I’m there he is so busy that I don’t want to bug him. He’s just so darn sweet and cute that today I decide I WILL bug him! I want to hear his story. It breaks my heart to think of him sleeping outside in a tent. He actually has to interview someone for the store, but he takes a few minutes to talk to me. He’s a man of few words, but he has a huge heart and a great smile.

Meet Herman.


Name: Herman

Age: 66

Hometown: Barberton


What brought you to Akron?

Well, I grew up in Barberton, so this area is my home.

Occupation/Previous Occupation/Source of income?

I was a saw operator in a trust company. I ran a computerized robotic saw. Now I run the shop at the Second Chance Store. I’ve been running it for about 4 months now.

Why don’t you have “a job” now?

I’m retired. I get Social Security.

How long have you been homeless?

Around 5 months.

What lead you to homelessness?

Being in an abusive relationship.

Do you have family?

No, they are all deceased.

Where did you sleep last night?

My tent.

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Usually 7-8 hours.

Do you usually have 3 meals a day?

YES, and then some!

Do you feel safe?

Oh, yes!

What is your biggest fear?

Having to leave here (Second Chance Village) and not having a place to go.

What can people find you doing during the day?

Running the Second Chance Store. Making sure nothing is stolen. Watching over the people here. Making sure that everybody stays in line and is doing what there supposed to. I’m on the Tri Council here at Second Chance too. The council runs all the parts of the store and village.

What are some of your daily struggles being homeless?

I really don’t have any daily struggles being here.

What 3 words would you use to describe being homeless?




What do you think is the leading causes of homelessness?

The economy.

How do you feel people who have never faced homelessness view the homeless?

That they are all worthless alcoholics and drug addicts.

Do most people show you kindness or treat you rudely?

People treat me pretty good.

What does the word “home” mean to you?

Family and friends. Friends that are like family.

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this week?

(Laughing) I was able to get up every day!

Is there anything that you really need right now?


Is there anything else you would like people to know?

Just that we’re a bunch of kind, happy people. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. It’s not as hard as some people may think to lose everything.