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Homeless man lives on rewards points

Jobless Californian lost his home to foreclosure. Now he lives in hotels, thanks to rewards from his frequent corporate travel.

By Karen Datko Mar 11, 2010 4:47PM

A lingering benefit of his former well-paid and well-traveled corporate life is keeping a roof over the head of Jim Kennedy, who is now jobless, bankrupt and foreclosed on. He’s using his rewards from airline loyalty programs and hotel points to move from hotel to hotel.

And Kennedy knows how to work those points, says an amazing story in The Orange County Register.

This week, Kennedy is at the Holiday Inn Express in San Clemente, where he converted his United Airlines miles. He brought down the 7,000-points-a-night cost to 5,000 by adding $100 for his four-night stay, so it costs him $25 a night.

Big bonus for Kennedy, who budgets $5 a day for food: free breakfast at the hotel (plus a microwave and fridge in the room).


Life used to be pretty great for Kennedy, who worked in IT and finance for a corporation until 19 months ago. He had a condo in lovely Newport Beach. Now its contents, including golf clubs and a 375-bottle wine collection, sit in a self-storage unit. He gets around in a leased BMW. His unemployment checks go to a rented mailbox.


He’s among the multitudes looking for work in California, which, at 12.5% in January, had the fifth-highest rate of unemployment in the U.S. In eight California counties, the jobless rate exceeds 20%. The Register said:

Every day he visits the online job banks and tries to reach out to recruiters, but he finds himself one of several hundred folks who are all going for the same gig, and it’s a difficult slog. He’s taken his story to Twitter in hopes of setting himself apart from all the other job seekers. He writes under a pseudonym, @HomelessThomOC.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this for Kennedy, who is 46. "I should be in major-dollar earning years and I am losing major-dollar earning years, which I will not get back,” he told the Register. “That part is frustrating and a little scary."


Related reading:

Nov 18, 2010 4:44PM
When his points run out he'll either be living in his car or in the street.  I hope he has no debt.  Jobs are very hard to find right now.  We have between 15 and 25 million Americans out of work and many more about to lose their unemployment benefits.  Immigration is unchecked in this country and we all know millions are here illegally. 

The story is interesting because a similar situation happened to the community owner of the worlds biggest money making movie: Avatar. The owner at is arguably Americas number one Avatar movie fan, a movie that made billions and guess what?  He's an unemployed and homeless person who is living in southern California.  He lost his job, his home then sold all his stuff and is using the money he makes to keep his online community going.  Man I wish I had that kind of resolve.
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