HomeBless Life: They aren’t looking for a hand out, just a hand up

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DALLAS -- Alvin Dillard once thought he had it all.

Panhandling, tents, and homelessness weren't on his radar.

"I've had the cars, the houses. I've had all of it," he told NewsFix. "I began to think that I'm better, not knowing that I could be right beside that very person I think I'm better than."

That all changed three years ago.

"You could be driving a Mercedes Benz today, and you could be in this tent tomorrow," Dillard said.

Alvin's heart and soul, his baby brother died in 2011, bringing on a depression-fueled cocaine addiction that claimed both Alvin and his former life.

"I needed something that I feel like people couldn't give me," he said. "It helped soothe the pain, if you understand what I'm saying, but it don't really clear the path."

That path led him under I-45. No home, no cars, no family.

"When I first got here I didn't have nothing but a mattress," he remembered.

He was on the street at 58 years old, with a life that ages you faster each day.

Alvin didn't ask for a miracle. I mean, he barely asked for a modern-day convenience.

"If I could get me a bigger tent, something like that, that would be the ultimate Christmas present for me," he told Laterras R. Whitfield just before Christmas last year.

Whitfield was a convenience and a miracle for Alvin. He bought him a huge, new tent full of everything he could need to make homeless feel more like home.

"I was lost for words. All I could do was shed a tear," Dillard said about the experience. "It really happened that God had blessed me to put this brother in my life."

HomeBless is Whitfield's way to rain down blessings on the homeless, and it all started with Alvin.

"I came out here for research because I was writing a play on the homeless, and it changed because I met this guy named Alvin," Whitfield said. "This experience changed me to the depths of my soul because it gave me a greater sense of humility."

Humility has become Whitfield's personal mission in life, helping people with this life. His videos show you what some of you don't really look at, the good and the bad.

"They burnt up my tent, man," Alvin tells Laterras on the phone in Episode 2 of HomeBless Life. "The police is out here now with the fire department."

That once perfect, new tent was replaced. The experience was just another thing that makes living like this so tough.

"I don't cry about it, I pray about it," Dillard said. "That's what I expect everyone else to do when it comes to me."

And the upbeat attitude stays present.

"If I knew y'all was coming, I'd have made dinner," Dillard laughed. "I'd have had a big ol' dinner, some cake and stuff like that."

There's hundreds of people living like Alvin, not much going for them other than a tent, some cardboard, and some hand outs. Although guys like Laterras are offering a hand up, which means in Dallas homeless doesn't always mean hopeless.

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