Aurora community helps homeless man get back on his feet after living in car

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AURORA, Colo. — A man who recently moved to the Denver area will finally have a place to call home thanks to some help from the Aurora community.

“It’s going to feel so good having all my stuff here. It’s the little things you get to appreciate,” Derick Corea said.

Until recently, the 21-year-old was living out of his car.

He moved from Omaha on a whim and quickly discovered steady work was harder to come by than he had expected.

“It’s an irrational decision, I understand. It just felt like I had to be here. My heart wanted to be here in Denver,” Corea said.

About a month ago, he responded to a Craigslist ad and interviewed for a job at DC Construction.

“I was excited to finally find a good company to work for. They’ve treated me with a lot of respect,” Corea said.

The family-owned company ended up giving him more than just a paycheck.

“I was washing his clothes, and I packed him a lunch — snacks and everything,” said Shania Peterson, whose father-in-law owns DC Construction.

Even after Corea moved into his own place, Peterson said she wanted to do more. She posted on her local Nextdoor page, asking for the community’s help in filling Corea’s empty room with some essentials.

The response, Peterson says, was overwhelming.

“I probably had about 75 people — between commenting and messaging  — saying they had stuff to donate… all kinds of things,” Peterson said.

Community members donated everything from new clothes and toiletries to a bed frame and mattress.

“They were acting like they knew him and that they cared about him. Some lady had written him a note in the bag of stuff she gave him, telling him he was loved,” Peterson said.

It’s a fresh start that was made possible by the generosity of strangers.

“I’ve never experienced that warm welcome like that before. Just seeing it from the community is just something beautiful,” said Corea.

Peterson and her family are still trying to raise money to buy Corea new tires after one of them recently popped. They have started a GoFundMe account for that purpose.

In the meantime, Corea is using the bus to get to and from various construction sites.

His boss says Corea has never been late or absent.

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