A homeless man who rents three self-storage units at Lakewood Self-Storage in Long Beach, Calif., is getting help from the community to pay his storage rent and other expenses. Jerry Pryor, 73, garnered attention after he was featured in a March article in the “Long Beach Post.” Community members, local small businesses and the philanthropic arm of Southern California Honda Dealers (SCHD) are now providing him with ongoing aid, according to a source.
Yuri Williams, an Orange County, Calif., a probation officer and local philanthropist who befriended Pryor, contacted SCHD, which grants random acts of kindness through its “Helpful Honda Guys” program, to nominate Pryor as a deserving person. The organization provided Pryor with a new wagon, clothing and supplies as well as money directed to accounts at the local restaurants he frequents. His outstanding balance and fees at the storage facility were also paid through the end of November.
In addition, community member Bruce De Mille launched a GoFundMe account called “Friends of Jerry” last spring and has raised more than $10,500. The account has made two disbursements to Lakewood Self Storage on Pryor's behalf and regularly purchases gift cards or funds a house account at restaurants and grocers.
Born and raised in Long Beach, Pryor graduated from Wilson High School in 1963. After the death of his brother, Danny, in 2001, he lived with his sister-in-law for a short time until she moved to Tennessee. He declined to join her and became homeless. He has no contact with family.
Pryor sleeps on a donated fold-out cot in a business parking lot. Every day he walks along Carson Avenue between Lakewood Boulevard and Norse Way, pulling the wagon behind him while trimming trees and picking up trash. He calls it his job to take care of the community and has become friendly with its members, a source reported.
“Jerry is just like you and me,” Williams said. “He just doesn’t have a house. He calls the streets his home … We have to change the narrative and try to build a relationship with the homeless.”
Opened in 2013, Lakewood Self Storage at 3969 Paramount Blvd. is north of Long Beach Airport. It offers a one-year price guarantee and free use of the company moving truck and driver for a limited time to new customers.