He Works So Others Have Homes

At age 54, Ed Pierce thought his income from rental properties in West Virginia and South Carolina would provide sufficient income to retire in Rock Hill, S.C., and be closer to his adult daughter.

When his tenants told him they couldn't pay their rent, he could have started the eviction process. Instead, he went back to work at a local Walgreens.

"I sat with them and prayed for better times," Peirce told a columnist for The Herald. "These are stand-up guys. Family men. Proud. They paid me before, when they were working. You don't show your faith, your Christianity, in words. You do it in deeds."

While we tend to think of landlords as disgruntled ogres who clamor outside your window for their monthly monthly check, property managers are generally very reasonable and even generous people. One of Pierce's tenants worked in construction and has a wife and two small kids. A second worked in utilities contracting and has a baby in the house. Both tenants got laid off several months ago.

If you find yourself in a situation where you can't pay your rent or mortgage, the worst thing you can do is ignore the problem. Maybe your landlord is willing to barter with you, or maybe you could work a few hours in your buildings leasing office for a discount on rent.

If your landlord chooses to be unreasonable, at least you did the right thing. Usually you can store your stuff at a place like Public Storage for a month for as little as $1.

Pierce has worked for $8.50 an hour in the photo department from 2 to 10 pm for roughly two months, helping to pay the bills in the hopes that things will pick up for his tenants and he can go back to retirement.

Pierce is also growing out a ponytail to donate to cancer patients.

While Mr. Pierce is certainly no saint, landlords like him seem like they are sent from heaven.

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