Adam Pingle is 43 years old and is from Perry County, Ohio. He has been practically homeless in Huntington for less than a week.
“Anybody could be homeless; It happens so easily,” Pingle said. “That’s just the way it is. You never realize what you have until it’s taken away from you.”
Pingle said he feels fortunate to be able to stay in hotel rooms each night until he manages to find a more permanent place to stay.
He recently became homeless after being laid off from his job at the City Mission, likely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on communities and businesses.
Pingle said he very much enjoyed working at the City Mission because it allowed him the opportunity to help others who are in need.
“I had a better job offer for more money, but I wanted to work at the Mission so I could help people,” he said. “The Mission does a lot of good things for a lot of people around here.”
Pingle said it is alarming how quickly his life transitioned from stability to insecurity. He said there are various factors that have led to his current situation, and all of them seemed to happen all at once.
“I had a nice house. I was living in a nice neighborhood. Everything was great. I felt like I could do anything,” Pingle said. “Then I got kicked out when life started getting too crazy, and I started having too much bad company around me. Even when I was working, I couldn’t stand people being out on the street with nowhere to go, so I’d let everyone stay at my house all the time.”
Pingle has been more economically unstable and “truly homeless” before, he said, in times of his life when he had nowhere at all to sleep at night, not even in cheap hotel rooms.
“I never thought I’d be back in this situation again,” he said. “There have been times in my life when I’ve been on the streets, truly homeless with nowhere to go. Then I got back on track, worked for everything I had, and life was good. You could sleep good at night and hold your head high and everything like that. But I lost it all so quick, man. I really did.”
Pingle said he would like to do social work in the future, and has attempted to take online classes on several occasions throughout his life, but he currently is unable. When he was younger, he graduated from a technical college where he studied, among various other skills and subjects, heavy machinery.
Since coming to Huntington some time ago, Pingle said he has learned a lot about the city and the people who live there.
“This city definitely has its ups and downs,” he said. “But it’s not all bad. There’s a lot of good here too.”
He said that based on other locals he has met, he understands a lot of people struggle to find good-paying jobs with adequate benefits. He said many of them are unable to get into transitional living and other facilities because most require passing drug tests before receiving support.
Pingle said one of his favorite hobbies before being in his current situation was playing pool with his friends at his house, where he had his own pool table. His dream job is to be a professional pool player or fisherman. He would love to have his own fishing show on television.
“Growing up, I always imagined having some sort of fishing show or playing pool professionally or something,” he said. “I used to love playing pool at my house, but I can’t do that anymore—don’t have a house or a pool table. Now I spend my time walking around the city and trying to figure out what I’m going to do with myself, looking for a place to stay.”
If he had a million dollars, Pingle said he would use his fortune to reconnect with his children, who currently live a couple hours away with family.
“If I got a million dollars today, I’d go see my kids and take them to do something,” he said.
Although he currently is experiencing one of the tougher phases of his life, Pingle said he always tries to remain optimistic and to adhere to his personal values.
“I’ve always said this, and I honestly do believe it: if you live right and think positive and trust in God, eventually good things will come your way,” he said. “If you live right no matter what—no matter who’s looking or anything— eventually it will come back to you.”
Looking upward toward the sky imagining where life may take him in coming months and years, Pingle said as his modest smile turned to a laugh, “Maybe I could take Trump’s job. Why not?”
Douglas Harding can be contacted at [email protected]