SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Missouri house flipper is helping a formerly homeless couple find a new home.
And he’s also helping them find work, too.
They met under unusual circumstances but it’s now developed into an unlikely friendship.
Larry Rains had some vacant homes when the pandemic first hit, and he wasn’t able to check upon them.
When he finally did, about six months ago, he could tell someone was living in it .
“The room was very nice and tidy,” Rains said. “It was made.”
Rains met the couple at one of his one-bedroom homes in northside Springfield.
“The friend of mine who was helping me, I looked at her and I said ‘I don’t know who these people are but they’re the nicest homeless people I think we’ve ever run across,'” Rains said.
He’s talking about James and Regina Gearhart.
“You’ll do a lot of things to get out of the weather,” Regina said. “I found that out, but I won’t hurt somebody’s else stuff. I’ll sleep on the ground before I do that.”
Gearhart has lived on and off the streets for a couple of years.
“It’s been very hard. Kicking that habit and having to let my family go,” Regina said.
She used to be addicted to methamphetamine, she left home to show her family she could get better.
“I did it. And I’m doing it. I have been sober now for a year,” Regina said. “Then I wanted to move back and they wouldn’t let me.”
This eventually led to Regina and James, who had an alcohol addiction for 30 years bumping into Rains on his property.
“They were very apologetic and very appreciative that they had a place to stay,” Rains said. “So, I got to visit a little longer and I’m like well we’re about to start cleaning up this house and start doing some painting. I said would you guys maybe like to do a little bit of work, make a little bit of money?”
Now, the couple house-sits Rains’ vacant projects.
“Really what it came down to was they had some problems but now it was just more not really having hope,” Rains said. “They were down on their luck. They had kicked their bad habits.”
Now, Rains is helping set them up with one of his one-bedroom homes.
“Oh it means everything,” Regina said.
They have to purchase it, and pay their mortgage.
“It’s perfect for a small family or a family of two,” Rains said. “I don’t do this a lot but when I do it I make sure I do it with somebody that I know is reliable. This is somebody I trust my grandchildren with.”
Regina: “Me and James both, we are so appreciative of that. It’s great. Larry will always be in our lives. No matter what,” Regina said.
Rains also owns a restaurant in Harrisonville where James has worked some shifts there.
He says James is about to get a promotion and he’s earned it.