Earlier this month, a college student named Evan Leedy debuted a GoFundMe campaign for Detroit resident, James Robertson. Robertson made headlines when his rough work commute surfaced to the public. Thanks to the campaign, which generated $350,001 from 13,248 supporters, Robertson will not only be able to purchase a brand new car, but also a new home away from his unsafe neighborhood.
As previously reported, the 56-year-old man walks from his home on Woodward Ave to catch his morning bus to Somerset Collection in Troy before he walks to his job at Schain Mold & Engineering in Rochester Hills. Daily, James walks 21 miles round trip for his job.
Supporters from all over have hit the crowdfunding platform to help raise funds so that he may be able to purchase a new vehicle. Explaining the situation, the campaign’s organizer, Evan Leedy wrote, “The sheer time and effort of getting to work has ruled Robertson’s life for more than a decade, ever since his car broke down. He didn’t replace it because he says, ‘I haven’t had a chance to save for it.’ His job pays $10.55 an hour, well above Michigan’s minimum wage of $8.15 an hour but not enough for him to buy, maintain, and insure a car in Detroit.
“As hard as Robertson’s morning commute is, the trip home is even harder. At the end of his 2-10 p.m. shift as an injection molder at Schain Mold’s squeaky-clean factory just sound of M-59 and when his co-workers are climbing into their cars, Robertson sets off, on foot – in the dark – for the 23-mile trip to his home off Woodward near Holbrook. None of his co-workers lives anywhere near him, so catching a ride almost never happens.”
According to Detroit Free Press, Robertson’s neighborhood woes was never really described in the campaign’s description and after meeting with Detroit police, crime-prevention specialists offered him somewhere safer to live. Police captain, Aric Tosqui stated, “He expressed interest that he did not feel safe. He’s a diamond in the rough in terms of what happened to him.”
Although he is being put up in an empty apartment owned by a local businessman, Robertson states that he is currently seeking long-term housing closer to his job at Schain Mold & Engineering. He noted, “Don’t get me wrong. It’ll be hard to leave the city that I love.”
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