Kenneth Chancey is a 23-year-old college graduate who was once homeless on Skid Row. Chancey graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in political science.
“I climbed here bare-handed,” Chancey told ABC News. “And yes it was harder than most people who are given resources, parental support. But it’s not impossible.”
To anyone in Chancey’s shoes, college would have seemed highly impossible. Since he was 11-years-old, Chancey said he’s been homeless. He said he spent some time in foster care, but didn’t have a place to live while he was transitioning out of the home and often slept on buses. “I slept on the 4 bus to downtown, to Santa Monica, and then back to downtown, and that still makes me emotional now, but no one should have to experience that. That’s the hard part,” the 23-year-old told ABC7.
Reportedly, Chancey started staying at the Union Rescue mission on Skid Row with his father and sister. He somehow managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA while at the university and his living conditions being as awful as they were. Not only was he killing the academic game, but Chancey was on his high school’s varsity track, swim and football teams! What? It was this impressive pedigree that landed Chancey scholarships that helped him go to college.
As fate would have it, Chancey has received several job offers and will be spending his summer at the Inner-City Arts summer camp.
“We hear perpetuating stereotypes that homeless are mentally ill or mentally unstable, but there’s families on Skid Row, and there are families that need support,” Chancey told ABC7. “Sometimes it’s not that people don’t want to exit Skid Row, it’s people don’t have the means and the opportunity to.”