LIFESTYLE

Homeless man earns down payment on house selling newspapers

SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 20:  San Francisco Chronicle journeyman pressman Ray Lussier pulls two freshly printed copies of the Chronicle at one of the Chronicle's printing facilities September 20, 2007 in San Francisco, California. Newspaper sales in the U.S. continue to slide as people turn to the internet and television for their news. The Chronicle saw its circulation plunge more than 15 percent in 2006 to 398,000 during the week which has hurt newspaper vendor Rick Gaub's business. Unable to sell as many papers as he used to, Gaub is looking for a new way to earn money after selling papers for 42 years.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 20: San Francisco Chronicle journeyman pressman Ray Lussier pulls two freshly printed copies of the Chronicle at one of the Chronicle's printing facilities September 20, 2007 in San Francisco, California. Newspaper sales in the U.S. continue to slide as people turn to the internet and television for their news. The Chronicle saw its circulation plunge more than 15 percent in 2006 to 398,000 during the week which has hurt newspaper vendor Rick Gaub's business. Unable to sell as many papers as he used to, Gaub is looking for a new way to earn money after selling papers for 42 years. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  (2007 Getty Images)

Mario Martinez has achieved the ultimate American dream. After five years saving up every penny from selling newspapers, Martinez and his four dogs closed on a 2,500 square foot home on three acres of land in Charlotte, Tennessee.

"I'm so grateful," he told the WKRN." There are so many people who believed in me."
Six years ago, Martinez fell on hard times. He lost his job and his home was foreclosed on. Ever since, then he’s been living in a trailer, nestled in an abandoned barn – with no heat or running water.

Martinez pulled together his down payment with money from selling “The Contributor,” a non-profit paper on homelessness and a lawn care business named after his beloved dog, Bear.
But it was realtor Brian Kemp who’d met Martinez on the street selling papers, who got the wheels in motion. Kemp helped Martinez in his home search and apply and qualify for the home loan.

“Mario helped me restore my faith in the people that are standing out on the street asking for money,” Kemp told WKRN. “I won’t look the other way anymore.

Martinez says he’s most excited about his new Jacuzzi tub.

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"So we fell on hard times, but now those hard times are over," he says. "The kids and I, we're gonna' have a home. I'm so excited. I worked hard for this."

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