An update from Denver VOICE vendors.
By Sarah Ford
Edward Werner had made a place for himself selling the Denver VOICE at the intersection of 15th and Market Streets. He was getting back on his feet after falling onto hard times and becoming homeless. The money wasn’t much, but it was enough to survive.
Then, one day, a man walked up and offered him a job.
Now, Edward lives in Texas, where he works as a project manager for Infinity Roofing. He has a comfortable apartment, full-time work, and, most importantly, opportunity. Opportunity he may never have found without the VOICE.
“You have to earn your money. People see that,” Edward says. “They see you out there doing your job, being productive. It tells them you want to be a productive citizen and they give you a chance.”
Edward worked as a VOICE vendor for about six months in 2012 before getting the job offer. He’d lost his job and was looking for any way to make an income while living on the streets. But he says people took notice of his investment in his own future.
“I was able to earn enough money to eat, and while I was doing this, and as importantly, people would come up saying ‘I see you out here working trying to get back on your feet,’” he said.
One of those who took notice was a representative of a company then called Integrity Roofing, which recently became Infinity Roofing. The man told Edward he’d seen his efforts selling papers every morning and his commitment to finding his way out of poverty—then he told Edward he might have a job for him.
“It was exciting and rewarding to think people valued what I had to do,” Edward says.
Within a few weeks, he had met with a representative of the company and been brought on as a roofer. He worked in Denver for about two years, before a hailstorm in Texas led to a relocation that’s stuck.
He isn’t sure whether he will return to Denver, but that’s the joy of stability. For now, Edward says he is enjoying finding and pursuing new possibilities—the doors open now seem endless.
But regardless of whether or not his path takes him back through Denver, Edward says he will never forget what his experiences with the VOICE taught him during a time of struggle.
“People really do want to help you out. People really are good,” he says. “[The VOICE] brings out the good in people.” ■