Kevin Horton is a stone’s throw away from being homeless.

The 64-year-old Waterville man got a notice last month that his apartment building downtown was sold and he had 30 days to leave.

“They want me out by today,” Horton said Thursday.

He was sitting on a bench near the Two Cent Bridge by the Kennebec River, his walker by his side. He can’t get around without it as one leg is shorter than the other, he has balance problems and is at risk of falling.

Horton has a traumatic brain injury and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He is physically and intellectually disabled.

“My mother hit me with a cast-iron frying pan on the left side of my head,” he said. “I was 15 years old. They had to take me to the hospital. They took an X-ray and my head was all squashed. She hit me so hard all the bones were busted. She shouldn’t have never done what she did. My father flipped out on her.”


Finding a place to live is hard. One of his aide workers, who asked not to be named as he is not allowed to speak publicly as part of his work, said he has scoured the city looking for places. Horton gets Social Security disability income and a regular Social Security income check that totals $944 a month, and that amount only recently increased from $800. He pays $750 a month in rent and about $25 for electricity, but landlords are asking that he make three times that amount to qualify for an apartment.

Aside from living in the apartment 25 years, the gray-haired bespectacled Horton helped with all sorts of chores there, including fixing plumbing, he said.

“I fixed wires to get the lights back on. I fixed toilets. I mowed the grass. I clean apartments when they need to be cleaned. I ripped an old rug up.”

As he sat on the bench at the Two Cent Bridge plaza, a cool breeze blowing about, a man walking with metal crutches approached. Sixty-three-year-old Cletus Jernigan, a military veteran, said he feels for Horton, as he has been homeless himself for two years. He had back surgery and suffers from an old ankle injury that requires the use of crutches.

“I sleep over there in that gazebo,” Jernigan said.

Horton, he said, doesn’t deserve to face homelessness.


“I like him. He’s good people. He’s got a good sense of humor. He’s honest.”

Another man who is about to be evicted approached. Referring to himself only as “B,” he said he stopped paying his rent because the landlord wouldn’t fix his inoperable bathroom. He empathizes with Horton, he said.

“We’re cut from the same cloth. We give, give, give and it seems like the world spits on us. These two guys right here, they are good men. My concern, especially for Kevin, is safety, especially if he gets kicked out.”

Horton said it takes him about five minutes to walk from his apartment to the riverfront.

“I come every day if it doesn’t pour down rain. I come all the time. I hang out on The Concourse. These are the only places I go except for the soup kitchen. I just came from there. I had a doughnut and coffee. That’s all I have for breakfast.”

He grew up in New Jersey, moved to Pennsylvania, was married and divorced twice and has three children with whom he has no contact, he said. His parents and three siblings are all dead. He has had many jobs, including in restaurants, a grocery store, department store and cutting trees, he said. He has a case worker and receives services at Kennebec Behavioral Health, he said.

His aide workers have helped move his belongings out of his apartment and into storage as he awaits eviction.

“According to my caseworker, she looked it up in the book and she said they can’t throw a handicapped person out until they get an eviction notice,” he said. “I’m not very happy about it, people banging on my door, telling me I got to get out. It stinks.”

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 35 years. Her columns appear here weekly. She is the author of the book“Comfort is an Old Barn,” a collection of her curated columns, published this year by Islandport Press. She may be reached at For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to

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