San Francisco native who lived out of his SUV for over two years moves in to new apartment

John Harris works at San Francisco's Health and Human Services Department. He is a San Francisco native with a job, but for two and a half years he's been in and out of shelters and sleeping in his truck.

"I always come to work on time. I never miss a day," said Harris, "I was really doing bad but nobody could really tell. But now that they're aware."

Last month he shared his story with KTVU, explaining how he'd struggled to find a place to live, making too much for the city's low income housing but not enough for the city's high rents.

"I was surprised he was living out of his truck," said Edlyn Kloefkorn, a fellow city employee and union member, "It's really touched all of us. And we all rallied to try and help him. The social workers in our agency. His manager was kind enough to start the GoFundMe page and we were very happy about that." 

Co-workers connected Harris with Episcopal Community Services, a non-profit that also serves as one of San Francisco's homeless navigation center partners.

"They explained to me that we can help you with everything in terms of moving in costs, etc., etc., but you would need to find a place yourself," said Harris.

Josh Steinberger is a problem-solving manager at Episcopal Community Services who says they the navigation centers try to streamline the process by being a one-stop resource for people facing poverty and homelessness. 

"We want to understand their background, what are some of the ways we can support folks with exiting homelessness without getting on a traditional housing list, which can take for some folks 3-5 years for them to get housing," said Steinberger. 

Finding a solution, though, means putting all the puzzle pieces together. 

Just last weekend, another piece fell into place for Harris. A tenant had just moved out of a house owned by Harris' church. The pastor Jackey Wilson offered it to him with a discount on rent.

"In reality, we're all just a paycheck away from being homeless ourselves. So what we need to do is help people cause we never know when we're going to be in that situation," said Jackey Wilson, the Evergreen Baptist Church Pastor.

On Wednesday, Pastor Wilson gave a tour of a modest, clean, three-room apartment.

After years of not having a home, it can be hard finding words for what it means to have four walls around you, your own bathroom, and a safe place to sleep. 

"I'm still in shock. I really am. I never thought this would happen," said Harris.

Even with the church discount, Episcopal Community Services is also helping him afford the rent. Harris says he plans to look for a part-time job or a lower priced rental so he eventually he can pay the whole rent himself. 

After the paperwork was signed and the check handed over to the church, Pastor Wilson handed the keys over to Harris. 

Human kindness opened a door, for a man who'd slipped through the cracks.

"Everyone just came together and now I'm not homeless anymore. It's really great. It's a good feeling," said Harris smiling.