This millionaire welcomed a homeless couple to live in his $4 million mansion located in California to take them off the streets and also show others that living on the streets isn’t contagious.
A former security guard who was injured at work, Greg Dunston, and Marie Mckinzie, a former cashier and a certified nurse assistant, were homeless and lived on the Oakland streets of California for 10 years before Terry McGrath offered them a home.
He gave them a unit of his mansion located in the upper-class Piedmont neighbourhood after he saw a story about them published in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2019.
The writer of the article, Otis Taylor, a journalist, said how there’s a major disparity in the Bay Area between the homeless and wealthy.
The Wealthiest City, but also with High Homeless Percentage
San Francisco is the wealthiest city in the US and has more billionaires per capita than any other city. However, it’s also one of the poorest-their homeless population is around 8,000 people.
According to Taylor, this city has people who can afford multimillion dollar homes and people who don’t have money to eat daily. These people sleep in parking lots, doorways, and next to dumpsters.
When he met Dunston and Mckinzie, Taylor recognized that although they had their struggles, they still had love for each other and were meeting people.
When he met them, he immediately offered them a free space in his home. They’ve accepted it and have been living there since 2019.
Terry was amazed by the love they have for each other and their persistence and surviving skills in one of the most difficult environments in the world.
He is hopeful that his decision to offer them a home will also break people’s perception of homeless individuals. He explains that it’s our natural tendency to move away from such ache and we avert our eyes.
This is when we make them part of the background, making it easier to move past this.
He says that they’re human beings, not serial killers and they want and deserve a warm home and a roof over their head.
Terry noted that a lot of people have lived in this unit-including his children, some relatives, and one of his interns. However, the black couple was the only one who faced obstacles when they moved into a ‘rich white neighbourhood’.
Piedmont Population: High Percentage of White People
Data from US Census shows that the population of Piedmont is 72 percent white and only 1 percent is black population.
Despite McGratch saying that several individuals had lived in the unit throughout the years, he had no reports from his neighbours about his previous, white tenants.
However, after the black couple started living in the unit, he got a call at night from a neighbourhood. They mentioned the word ‘situation’, referencing Greg and Marie.
He responded by saying ‘what situation? Are they vandalizing cars? Are they burglarizing homes?’ He said this was one of the most offensive talks he ever had.
Other complaints were raised with the police, with the residents noticing the black couple living in this wealthy dominantly white area.
Some people reported ‘a woman sitting at Lexford and Hampton who’s smoking a cigarette and could be drugs’. Another one reported ‘strange folks hanging around the house’.
Mckinzie and Dunston are happy to have left the homeless world behind. They don’t want to be there, as a lot of people do. Mckinzie loves to cook and wanted a kitchen, shower, and a bed so much.
Terry says that the couple is welcomed to stay for as long as they want. For them, they’re like his family and he won’t let them back to the streets.