Ernest Kimble doesn’t remember how long he’s been living in a motel.

For at least a decade, Ernest Kimble, 53, has called a motel on the Interstate 35 frontage road in San Marcos home. Before that, he lived in a motel next door. “It’s been so long I don’t even remember,” he says.

Kimble is part of the Statesman's Season for Caring program, which features the stories of 12 families, but helps hundreds of others through local nonprofit agencies. He was nominated by Community Action Inc. of Central Texas.

In 1983, Kimble came to San Marcos to train at the Gary Job Corps Center and never left. He worked for a short stint at Pizza Hut and then started at Burger King, where he continues to work. “I just go to work and come home and that’s it.”

Even though he doesn’t have a kitchen, he has a makeshift pantry in the corner of his motel room, where he stores cereal and shelf-stable foods that he can cook in the microwave.

Sometimes the laundry next door will wash his clothes for him, but, for the most part, he washes his Burger King uniform in the sink and hangs it to dry the near the window of his motel room.

He pays $400 every two weeks to live at the motel, and although he doesn’t mind living in a small space, he says would love to live somewhere that didn’t have roaches. The motel sprays all the time, Kimble says, but it doesn’t seem to have much effect.

Kristina Delgado, a health specialist with Community Action, says they have looked for other living arrangements for him, but Kimble is worried that if he comes up short one month, he’ll be out on the streets. At the motel, they’ll work with him if he needs to make smaller payments, but an apartment complex might not be as flexible.

Community Action has received a few pieces of furniture for a new apartment for Kimble and some housewares, and he could use many more items as well, but first they need a place for him to live.

To find out more about Ernest Kimble or to give something on his wish list, contact Community Action Inc. of Central Texas, 512-392-1161, communityaction.com.

Kimble is not the only family needing to start over in a new place. Jennifer Tate, 47, and her son Brennan, 7, have been living in a large recreational vehicle in Georgetown. Her agency, SAFE Alliance, is hoping to move her into an apartment, and she will need all the furnishings for it as well as a washer and dryer. Contact SAFE Alliance, 512-903-8670, safeaustin.org.

Kevin Duroy, 39, and his two children also have been living in a large recreational vehicle after the death of his wife, Trish, in June. They are in the process of buying land and building a home, but will need all the furnishings for the home. Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757, wondersandworries.org.

The Haroun family is like many refugee families. They have cobbled together pieces of furniture that are not ideal for their needs. Idris Haroun, 65, who has knee injuries from his life in Darfur and then Iraq, cannot sit comfortably at the kitchen table they currently have. Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, Ext. 7, interfaithtexas.org.

Mirtha Lugo, 53, and her two daughters have some furniture, but many of the pieces need to be replaced. Originally from Paraguay, she became a citizen this October and works two jobs at downtown hotels to make ends meet. Foundation Communities, 512-615-4758, foundcom.org.


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