Strangers Offer Homeless UCSD Student a Home

Inspired by his story, locals offer David a bed for the night

A week ago, this homeless student at UC San Diego was sleeping in his car. Now he's got locals lining up to offer him a room in their home.

David, who didn’t want to reveal his last name, is a 21-year old junior majoring in Computer Engineering. His parents were paying for his education, about $7,000 a semester not including housing, when they fell victim to a series of hardships.

First David's father lost his job. “He had to file for bankruptcy, so we haven't had money,” David said.

Then David's mother, who paid for half of his education, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

David said he tried to apply for financial aid, but was told he didn't qualify.

“I was living on campus, my parents were several months behind on payments, and so I got evicted during finals week and that's when I knew I just had to accept it,” David said.

He could accept homelessness, but would not quit school. Instead, David borrowed money from his girlfriend and her family and chose to sleep in his car.

Today, David typically wakes up early and showers at a nearby 24-hour fitness center, where he's a member. He's back on campus by 8 a.m. and stays there all day.

“If I want to sleep by 12, I just wait until the library closes and I go to one of the bathrooms and I brush my teeth, floss,” David said.

His pride, he said, is still intact.

“I don't think this homeless situation is that bad because I'm at UCSD and it's a really good school to be studying at, and I think I've come far. So, no, I don't feel embarrassed at all,” David said to NBC San Diego in a story that aired Friday night.

The response from locals was immediate.

“We realize that a place to stay is only part of the problem but my wife and I may be able to help since we have a spare room available,” Rudy Mabolo wrote to NBC San Diego.

Mabolo told NBC San Diego that he has never offered anything like this to a stranger before.

So why now? “It’s the character of the person. I wouldn’t make that offer to anyone who lives in San Diego. It just so happens that we watched ‘The Blind Side’ movie,” he said, referencing the Oscar-nominated movie about a rich family that takes in a talented but homeless young man.

"When I read this story I almost burst into tears," said Jack Smith, one of several people who called in to NBC San Diego to offer their help. "It’s important for this young man with his brain to get three hots and a cot," he said.

David and Mr. Smith are currently talking about the possibilities. On Monday, the homeless student is meeting with a woman who lives about 10 minutes from campus.

“I think it's incredible that people are expressing their concern,” David said Sunday. “I'm thankful for all of it and it makes my situation a lot easier, especially since I can share it with people who care.”

David said he hopes to complete his education at UCSD and eventually earn his MBA at Harvard.

Administrators at UCSD said they were not aware of David's story, but that emergency loans are available to students who qualify.

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