GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A former substitute teacher in Gulfport may soon be without a home. A minister in his neighborhood is leading the charge to stop that from happening, but in an odd twist, he's also getting help from the very company that could evict him.
It's not much. The home in Soria City needs major repairs, but it is all 65-year-old Floyd Tillman has left.
"It means my life," Tillman said.
Because of a misunderstanding, he didn't pay property tax in 2009 on the house that was once his mother's and one he's lived in for 40 years. It was sold in August 2010, but he hasn't been force out yet.
"This is my grandmother's house. My mother and her sister built this house for my grandmother," Tillman said. "I want to keep it and own it. Not to just stay here, I want to own it."
Tillman faces an official eviction date Friday. However, a spokesperson with the company that currently owns the property, who didn't want to be identified, said it's not the company's intention to evict the disabled Tillman. However, he wants to make sure the safety net is in place so this doesn't happen again to him or anyone else.
"They've been very gracious about working with Mr. Floyd," said Tillman's neighbor, the Rev.Guy Wells. "They made it clear to me he's passed the deadline. They could have already sent somebody out here a long time ago, and Mr. Floyd would be God knows where."
Wells has stepped in to help negotiate with the company, REO America. Instead of an enemy, he's found a cooperative spirit.
"I was just moved in my heart that a company would do that, because I know they don't have to. It's business, and nobody's blaming them for doing anything. Nobody's blaming anybody," said Wells.
While REO estimates the value of the home at about $10,000, officials would accept less to settle. But, they said something must be done soon.
Wells hopes others will come through.
"I'm trying to convince Floyd, I'm trying to let him know that God does love him. He does care about him. He does hear his concerns. So, with that, we hope that God will, and we believe he will, step in, touch the hearts of somebody who will help Floyd out," said Wells.
Wells is creating accounts to help raise money for Tillman. For more information on how to help, call Wells at 228-437-1521.