From homeless to hopefull...Thomas Humphrey
Anne Stanton 3/16/09
Nine years ago, Thomas Humphreys luck began to turn south.
First, a relative was sexually assaulted twice by a star football player from a wealthy Traverse City family. The teen was convicted, but received less than a year of jail time.
Humphrey, a roofer in the area for decades, said the assault sent him into a downward spiritual spiral. He lost faith in the judicial system and became despondent.
Then he took on a substantial mortgage -- which he was unable to pay -- and had to foreclose on his home. He declared bankruptcy and was living on the edge when a traumatic head injury clinched his place among the homeless in Traverse City.
You look around at how pretty this place is and what a nice town it is. People like me are in between all those pretty scenes, he said.
Humphrey, 48, is no longer homeless. Today he feels strong enough to talk about his ongoing journey from the economic dregs of the city. He is a tall, lanky man with craggy features and reddish hair; he has a rich baritone voice, but often draws a blank when trying to remember something. I used to be young, but now Im ancient, he said, laughing.
Humphrey said he has regained his dignity and self respect, but hell never get his memory back. (The dates and details of this article are largely based on the daily journal of his dad, Wade Humphrey.) But at least he has an advocate in Marley Navin, who has also lost her life savings due to the effects of multiple sclerosis.