Ed Washington was born with a bone disorder that usually ends in death within five years. But age 54, he lives alone in an apartment secured through the Houston Housing Authority, which is also his employer.
"You just can't, like what most people think, come over here and just not work, lay back and just chill," Washington said. "That's not what it's about here."
Washington is one of 60 thousand Houstonians living in public housing. Another 14 thousand are currently on a waiting list at a time when the agency faces a 7 million dollar budget cut.
Nationally, half a million people are waiting for homes, which is part of the reason the ‘ReThink Why Housing Matter' campaign launched in May.
It's a video campaign aimed at changing public perception.
"I understand why there's a stigma, a negative stigma, but I just don't get it," Washington said. "When you know your oldest brother could be here (or) your grandmother."
What about a high school valedictorian? Eric Johnson is now a marketing major at Howard University.
"It's a historically black university, and they offered me a lot of money," he said.
Raised by a single father in Clayton Homes, Johnson is now using his summer break to visit his dad and help with the campaign. He and his father moved to Clayton Homes when he was in third grade. Like today, there wasn't always a lot of peace and quiet, but he adjusted.
("I wouldn't have any place to stay if it weren't for the housing authority," he said. "Having this kind of help and knowing that there's somebody out there who's definitely sleeping on the sidewalk. (I see) those people at the Star of Hope down the street that went to my high school. It's like, 'man, these people really live like this.' And that could be me."