Colton veteran no longer homeless thanks to community support

COLTON, Calif. (KABC) -- Kenny Robbins is resting a lot easier these days. The Air Force veteran is no longer living out on the streets thanks to the community he's called home for nearly two decades.

"You don't have to worry about, 'OK, if it starts raining where am I going to relocate? If it doesn't stop and dry up where do I set up?' That makes a big difference," said Robbins.

Robbins is a fixture in Colton as a newspaper salesman. Residents know they can find him at the corner of Rancho Avenue and Valley Boulevard with the latest edition of the San Bernardino Sun, rain or shine.

"For years I have had people follow me to San Bernardino over to Colton. I've had people from as far away as Redlands on Sunday come to buy a paper," said Robbins.

The modest earnings he got from his newspaper sales helped to buy a few basic items, but it was not enough for a permanent roof over Robbins' head.

Last December, Robbins became homeless after the home of a friend he'd been staying with was sold.

"You got to sleep with one eye open and one ear open, and sometimes you don't know if you will be able to sleep," said Robbins about camping in a nearby park.

Then in June during a conversation over coffee with his former neighbor he agreed to do an interview with the Inland Empire Community News.

"It came out on a Thursday and by Friday everything changed," he said.

Robbins was approached by Colton-based Lighthouse Social Services about allowing them to help him find a place to stay.

"He said to me, 'you know I just didn't know these types of resources were out there," said Kimberly Westerfield with Lighthouse Social Services.

The organization was able to help Robbins apply for resources through his status as a veteran since he'd been honorably discharged.

"Started making arrangements filling out the papers and everything else because they said could possibly relocate me and give me a place," said Robbins.

Robbins now has an apartment and a place to lay his head at night. Best of all he has basic comforts he can take advantage of any time he wants.

"You can take showers whenever you feel like it or a bath," said Robbins laughing.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.