Eric Jonathan Sheptock...
born in Atlantic City, New Jersey where at the age of 8 months I suffered a massive head injury -- which may have been a matter of child abuse or a bad accident -- and was not expected by doctors to develop normal cognitive functions, much less finish high school. I spent five years in foster care due to prospective parents not wanting to raise someone who wouldn't meet their standards for success. Then a Polish man and Italian woman took me in when I was five and a half years old. A year later they moved into a mansion in Peapack, New Jersey where they raised 37 children -- seven natural and 30 adopted. One has since died. I have at least 42 nieces and nephews as well as seven great nieces and nephews.
The Sheptocks moved to Florida in early 1985. I graduated from Hollister Christian Academy in Hollister, Florida in June of 1987, having been a straight-A student. But I've beaten other odds as well. The head injury left me an extreme stutterer often taking three minutes to utter one sentence, causing me to become exhausted and walk away from many conversations. I've defeated the stuttering enough to now speak at various high schools, colleges, universities and churches. I've also been featured on CNN, Al-Jazeera and other media. I am a story of overcoming and beating the odds.
I began advocating for the homeless in June 2006 due to the coaching of the late Mary Ann Luby. I began as a member of the Committee to Save Franklin Shelter and was part of the successful effort to stop Mayor Tony Williams from closing the Franklin School Shelter. Fellow homeless advocate David Pirtle taught me to do e-mail in November of that year -- a day that many in DC Government now curse. I have gone on to become a prolific user of e-mail and Facebook and often blog.
In 2011 I became the chairman of the then-new advocacy group SHARC which stands for "Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change". SHARC formed for the purpose of informing poor and homeless people about budget cuts to social services which would negatively impact them. They went on to become instrumental in beginning the robust public conversation around the future of the 1,350-bed Federal City Shelter -- a conversation that continues to this day and could end with up to one-sixth of Washington, DC's homeless population obtaining housing and/or improved shelter.
D.C's 'homeless homeless' advocate By Nathan Rott Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, December 13, 2010
Eric Sheptock has 4,548 Facebook friends, 839 Twitter followers, two blogs and an e-mail account with 1,600 unread messages. What he doesn't have is a place to live. "I am a homeless homeless advocate," he often tells people. That's the line that hooks them, the one that gives Sheptock - an unemployed former crack addict who hasn't had a permanent address in 15 years - his clout on the issue of homelessness. His Facebook friends and Twitter followers include policymakers, advocates for the homeless and hundreds of college students who have heard him speak on behalf of the National Coalition for the Homeless. Being homeless has become Sheptock's full-time occupation. It's work that has provided him with purpose and a sense of community. But it's also work that has perpetuated his homelessness and, in a way, glorified it. Sheptock, 41, wouldn't take a 9-to-5 job that compromised his advocacy efforts or the long hours he spends tending to his digital empire, he says. He wouldn't move out of the downtown D.C. shelter where he has slept for the past two years if it would make him a less effective voice for change. "Too many homeless people have come to look up to me, and I can't just walk away from them," he says in a recent blog post titled "Tough Choices." "My conscience won't allow it." Having 5,000 friends on Facebook is more important to Sheptock than having $5,000 in the bank. And he lives with the consequences of that every day. 'Lots of drama' At 6 a.m., the lights flicker on at the Community for Creative Non-Violence, where Sheptock has occupied the same top bunk since he arrived at the 1,350-bed shelter in 2008. Eleven other men share a 15-foot-by-18-foot room on a floor that teems with more than 200 people on a typical night. There's not much privacy, Sheptock says. Younger people tend to be loud, older people cranky, and there's drama. "Lots of drama," he says. That's why, on most days, Sheptock takes a shower as soon as he wakes and then walks the four miles from the shelter near Judiciary Square to Thrive DC, a nonprofit organization in Mount Pleasant where he gets a free breakfast and Internet access. On the days he can afford it, he'll take the bus. His income varies. November was a good month: He made $330 from his blog posts ($25 a pop at Change.org) and his speeches ($40 for those he gives in the Washington region and $100 for those farther away).
To read the rest of the article go here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/12/AR2010121204152_2.html
DC DECLARES 12/31/14
ERIC JONATHAN SHEPTOCK DAY
HIT SONG "TRUMP'S GOTTA GO"
THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN
PREACHING A SERMON
CONGRESSMAN JOHN CONYERS
ON WPFW RADIO
BURYING A FELLOW HOMELESS HERO
WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR