The typical homeless person walks three to five miles a day in search of necessities such as food, shelter and healthcare. In a year's time, that's over 1,000 miles. The number is according to 53-year-old Stephen T. Millhouse, who is on a one-man march covering 1,460 miles -- the distance if you walked four miles each day -- to bring attention to homelessness.
It started on August 3rd in his home state of Montana and will end at the Hospitality Kitchen in Los Angeles, where he once used the services as a homeless person himself.
Today is day 148 and he's in the Ventura area. He may be traveling solo, but a trail of news features have followed him since entering the Central Coast and Southern California.
"Millhouse, decked out in an athletic-looking weather proofed jacket, didn't seem bothered by a little precipitation," wrote Hayley Thomas in the Paso Robles Press. KSBY then caught up with him as he headed down the Cuesta Grade towards San Luis Obispo, followed by the Santa Maria Times, the Santa Barbara News-Press and today the Ventura County Star.
Collectively, the stories tell of a determined and passionate individual who has traveled a long distance for a noble cause, not just through the elements, but on a broken foot that developed early during his journey.
Millhouse is a veteran with a master's degree in clinical psychology who stopped his therapy work to pursue his dream of acting in Los Angeles. But a work injury and a denial of workers compensation led him to six years of homelessness. Now he's bringing attention to the issue while trying to raise $1 million.
But he's only raised $3,000 so far.
In the Bay Area last month he sat down with KALW News' Ben Trefny, who noted in their extensive interview that the march sounds "very quixotic," considering his injury and little funds raised.
Millhouse explained that if 69,000 people donated a penny for each mile walked -- that's $14.60, not much to many people -- he'd reach the goal. The money would go to food pantries and organizations in the four states he traveled through.
That said, "the money isn't as important as their participation in their local community volunteering," he told Trefny. "I would rather see that happen than hit the million dollar mark. Get involved. Your time is valuable, and you might be the one person to connect with a homeless person in terms of a human contact relationship that gets this person out of homelessness. Just get involved. It's a social issue that demands and deserves a social solution, and the only way is to get involved. Take the sunglasses off, roll down the tinted window and acknowledge the fact that there's a problem there."