South Shore community gives homeless family a 'second chance' at life

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A few days ago, the chances of having a place to call home seemed slim to Erik Collins and his young family.

He and his new wife, Emoni Todd, had been homeless for three years and struggled to keep steady jobs.

"Went from cars to motels, to abandoned houses, to my friend's house and sleeping in the basement... one time I slept outside," Collins said.

For a while the couple refused to accept help from homeless shelters in the area. But once they did, their lives changed.

"And then out of nowhere we got a knock on our door. They told us to come down and Earl offered us something that I never thought anybody would offer anybody," Collins said. "He offered me basically a new life."

Earl Walker is a local business owner and is no stranger to giving back to the community, but he's never done anything like this before.

"After hearing their story, one of the things that stuck out that Erik mentioned to me was that he always wanted to get married. I said 'Oh okay, let's make that happen,'" Walker said.

With the help of the Sweet Holy Spirit Church, Walker was able to give Erik and Emoni the wedding they never thought would happen. But it didn't stop there.

Earl also found a place for the couple and their children to live, provided them with a new car and hired them to work at his restaurant.

"This makes me feel great. I get to finish things, accomplish things that I always wanted to do. I get to raise my kids properly, I don't have to worry about all the stressful things that we've been going through," Todd said.

The family expects to move in by the end of the week and is excited to see things finally looking up. They hope their new home, jobs and Go Fund Me campaign will help get them back on their feet.
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