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Van-dwelling dad says he and son seek no handouts ‘I could really use a job — or a place to live’

By Cindy Simpson

Sleeping each night in a van, moving from place to place would be hard on anyone.
Imagine what it can do to a 10-year-old boy.
“I know how stressful it is on me, so I know it has got to be stressful on him,” Scott Trimble said of his son, Justin.
For the past month, father and son have lived in a van while Scott looks for work.
“He has to go to school. He has to deal with kids,” Trimble said. “I’m sure some kids know he’s homeless, and he has to deal with that.”
Justin, for his part, says he’s confused how they got to this point.
“I don’t even know what is happening,” he admitted.
Justin used to be an A and B student when they lived in Ohio. Then the pair packed up for Harriman, where Trimble thought he would find work and a short-term place to stay.
In the month since that move, the curious fifth-grader, who loves playing with the camera on his father’s phone, is struggling in school.
He recently told his father he made an F.
Despite that, Justin seems enthusiastic about life, readily sharing details about a recent class project in which whipped crème and other foods were used to make a replica of plant cell.
“It doesn’t look like a plant cell,” Justin said. “Nobody’s looked like a plant cell.”
Trimble previously lived in Harriman. He and his mother moved to the area nine years ago, but when she died eight months later, he went back to Ohio for her burial and stayed.
He had work there for awhile, but it dried up. A friend from Roane County gave Trimble a lead on a job, so he packed up Justin and headed South.
When he arrived, Trimble learned his friend was working through a hiring agency, and the job lead went nowhere.
“I took what money I had and came all the way down here, and then I got stuck in this situation,” Trimble said.
Trimble is now looking for work and trying to get some sort of disability for nerve damage that keeps him from former occupations like roofing and construction.
He’s been all over for work, saying he likes to travel. And every week, he calls the hiring agency that employed his friend and asked to be put on a notice list of available workers.
Trimble, a former Subway employee, has also applied for jobs at various fast-food establishments.
“Pretty much nobody is hiring in Roane County,” he said.
Trimble said he doesn’t need any handouts.
“If anyone wants to offer me something, I could really use a job — or a place to live,” he said. “Those are the things most important to me.”
Trimble has been working with the school system and other charities, and he praises them for their help.
He’s optimistic he’ll find shelter and work before the charity really gets rolling.
He loves the idea of Family Promise, the recently-formed organization that will utilize churches as shelter for homeless families while assisting them to find permanent housing and work.
Trimble hopes to soon be able to again share his story — a success story that can give hope to those struggling in similar situations.
He’d like to help give back to agencies like Family Promise and help those in his position to learn life skills and improve their self esteem.
Trimble said living like he is devastates his self-esteem and motivation.
“Every day you get up and nothing changes,” he said. “You lose a little bit more of who you are.”

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