"I thought my life was pretty much over when I lost my house," Craig says.
After all, he and his wife had been living a pretty comfortable lifestyle before becoming homeless: they rented a home on Capitol Hill, drove a brand new Range Rover, and stood to inherit quite a bit of money. That is, until Craig's wife -- who is disabled and living off a combination of SSI and family support -- was cut off. Not only did her family stop sending her money, they also wrote her out of her father's will. A brother made off with nearly $1 million, and she was left with nothing but her savings and a host of medical bills.
Craig was working as a home-care worker at the time. In fact, that's how they met and fell in love. But soon after getting married, his wife needed surgery. And soon enough, her savings ran out.
With a college degree in Accounting, Craig tried looking for higher-paying work. He'd graduated with honors from San Diego State University; he shouldn't have had a problem finding a job. But there was something else on his record that he wasn't as proud of: a felony drug charge. It didn't take very long for potential employers to make their decisions.
90-second video interview with Craig Skewes, by Alex Becker, Real Change Intrn & Contributing Writer.
When the money ran out, Craig and his wife moved into their car. On the first night, they parked next to the police station, thinking it would be the safest place. In the early morning, several police officers surrounded their vehicle with guns drawn and dragged them out of their car, throwing their belongings on the ground.
"The police told us that homeless people were not allowed to have that car," Craig says.
A Real Change vendor for the past three years, Craig sells the paper at Central Market in Shoreline, and has developed a strong relationship with his customers, store management, and staff. In December he was Real Change's top-selling vendor, and best of all, he has a home.
"It took two and a half years to save the money for first and last month's rent," Craig says. "[Having a home] is something I always took for granted. And I will never take it for granted again."
To his customers and friends at Central Market, he says, "Thank you very much. My wife, myself, and my little cat Dolce wouldn't have survived without your help."