If you've driven past the Rosewood Drive entrance to Walmart you may have seen them. A father and his two young sons standing on the corner holding a sign that reads, "Homeless and struggling family. Can you help us? Please. Anything will help."
But have you ever talked to them? Patch saw them late Sunday morning and decided to find out their story.
The father, who asked to be called just "Ed," was polite and had a deep voice. He said he was married and father of three boys. He said he's a flooring installer and painter by trade who stands on the corner on weekends to supplement his irregular income.
"I do this on the weekend to help pay for food and a room at a motel for the week for us," Ed said. "It is embarrassing and belittling, but I have to do what I have to do for my kids. I have to make sacrifices for my boys."
He said the family has one car and tries to stay in motels with a kitchenette so they can cook nutritious meals for their growing boys. That costs about $250 a week.
The two boys, who were playing nearby, appeared to be clean and well-cared for.
Ed, 40, says the family fell on hard times a little over a year ago. His 30-year-old wife is handicapped with a degenerative disk disease.
"I never approach anyone. I don't say anything to anyone except 'thank you' and 'God bless'," commented Ed. "I don't have much to hide."
Originally from San Jose, Ed says he has applied for jobs from Hayward and San Jose all the way to Stockton.
"I keep my resume with me and I put in 100 applications. I just want anything that will put me to work," he said. "I don't like to sit around. I just wanna work full time and see my boys at night. My family means everything to me."
With a proud smile, Ed told Patch that his three boys are honor roll students and love school.
"My oldest boy has been on honor roll for the past three years and gets straight As," said Ed. "He is on the right track."
Ed has hope in his voice when he speaks.
"I don't want hand-outs. I would really like to work," he said.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness website, "There are 643,067 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States. Of that number, 238,110 are people in families, and 404,957 are individuals."
The site also says, "Some families living in poverty, however, fall into homelessness, usually due to some unforeseen financial challenge, such as a death in the family, a lost job, or an unexpected bill, creating a situation where the family cannot maintain housing."
In January, the Huffington Post reported in the article, Working Poor: Almost Half Of U.S. Households Live One Crisis From The Bread Line, that "15 percent of Americans — some 46 million people" — are living below the poverty line.
There are groups, including local churches, which provide some aid to the homeless in the Tri-Valley. Tri-Valley Haven and Basic Necessities are non-profit organizations which help to feed homeless people in Tri-Valley and offer resources to provide the basic needs for homeless individuals and families.
Patch wants to know what you think about homelessness in the Bay Area. Do you stop and offer help? What do you tell your children when you see a homeless person or family?
Patch us your comments in the comments section below.