LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One of the people considering running for the mayor of Louisville next year said he knows how to help the city's homeless get back on their feet. So for the past few days, Anthony Oxendine has been working to put words into action.
“It definitely does feel like a fresh start. I feel like I can go anywhere from here,” Joey Mullikin said.
On Sunday, Louisville funeral homeowner Anthony Oxendine went around in a limo and took three homeless men he met on the street to church and to dinner. Mullikin was one of those men.
“So for the last couple of days, we have been out recruiting the homeless. These folks are living in a tent. They lay their head on a rock at night. They have no place to sleep,” said Oxendine, who is the owner of Spring Valley Funeral Home & Cremation in Louisville.
On Monday, Oxendine recruited five more men he met on the street. Mullikin and a handful of others Monday were given the royal treatment as Oxendine took them to a fine-dining Italian restaurant in downtown Louisville.
Mullikin said he was standing at 9th and Broadway in Louisville the day after the Kentucky Derby when he met Oxendine.
“I happened to be really down on my luck, having a very depressing day and I started praying to God,” Mullikin told Spectrum News. “And three minutes later, after I started praying, Anthony, a gentleman, a very kind gentleman, showed up, rolled down his window, and asked if I was willing to go to work. I’m so excited. This is like a life-changer,” the 33-year-old said.
Mullikin said he lost his retail job in March last year due to the pandemic and had issues receiving unemployment checks. Then, in September last year, Mullikin said he lost his apartment.
“I don’t know how to put this. I used to look down on people that were on the street. I graduated high school with honors. I looked down on people that had drug addictions, and what God has showed me is, I’ve been on both sides now, and he did that for a reason because you can’t look down on somebody, and people that don’t understand being homeless or addiction, you cannot look down on them until you’ve walked in their shoes,” Mullikin said.
To help people like Mullikin get back on their feet, Oxendine is working with a local business that does landscaping called A Clean Beyond, Inc. The company is hiring the men to landscape and clean up unkempt cemeteries in Louisville’s West End.
“The homeless is there because they just need a helping hand. I know. I was homeless once. I know what it’s like to be on the streets. I know what it’s like to see someone drive and look at you and think that you are scum of the Earth when you are just a good soul that just needs a helping hand,” Oxendine said.
For Mullikin, the job will give him more than just a paycheck.
“It gives me a boost of confidence. I don’t have very good self-esteem. I have low self-esteem so him giving me this job boosted my self-esteem greatly. He doesn’t even realize what he’s done for me and I know I’m making my family proud by getting a job,” Mullikin said.
Mullikin is getting a job and a second chance.
“I can stay on the right path or I can go down the wrong path and I’m picking the right path,” Mullikin said.