DETROIT (WXYZ) — Homelessness in Detroit is a serious issue, especially to one 24-year-old college student. That’s because Byron Brooks was once living on the streets. Now he's trying to help others who are in the same position he once was in.
When Brooks was homeless he was trying to get an education. Now this college student is paying it forward with his own nonprofit trying to help those who are experiencing the same thing he did.
“While I was homeless, so many people showed me love and support,” Brooks said.
He said he’s blessed but if you heard his life story, you might be surprised that this he is such a positive and giving person.
“Anything that’s worth anything, you got to go through some things," Brooks said. "You got to go through some pressure, you got to go through some pains in your life."
Action News met Brooks last year when we did a story about him going from homelessness to being accepted to Harvard.
He decided to stay in Michigan and attend Ferris State University.
Brooks was raised by his great grandparents who told him education is the key to success. But he says his mother gave him an ultimatum.
“To either work in a factory and stop going to school or to leave her house," Brooks said. "So, on that day I chose education over a home and I feel like I made the right choice.”
Brooks is studying to be an audio engineer but he’s also into social justice.
Since last year, he started up a nonprofit called "From The Hood for The Hood."
Last winter, he passed out 186 survival kits. Brooks wants to surpass that goal this year so he is turning to crowdfunding.
“My situation prepared me for what I’m doing right now,” Brooks said.
Brooks says he got a lot of support from the community and his church when he was homeless.
“I owe it to them, but I owe it to myself to pay it forward,” he said.
His next big goal is opening up a homeless shelter for young people.
“Get them involved with a mentor, get them involved in a trade school,” Brooks said.
We asked him if he has any regrets.
“If I look back at it, I would make the same decision,” he said.
if you want to make a donation or volunteer, go to: https://www.facebook.com/donate/410658563134363/?fundraiser_source=external_url