Real estate broker Joe Manzanares was driving down Speer Boulevard in downtown Denver one day when he ran out of gas. A homeless man, Chris Rezac, who had been holding a sign reading, “I’m cold. I’m homeless. I’m hungry. Spare anything?” offered to help. That simple act changed both mens’ lives.
The next day, Manzanares came back to the corner and gave Rezac $25 and a new sign to hold. But it wasn’t asking for help. “No need for your cash! I’m sponsored by Joe Manzanares,” the sign read, along with the Re/Max logo and Manzanares’ contact info. Every day, Manzanares gives Rezac money in exchange for holding the sign. “It literally is kind of like a sponsorship,” Manzanares says. The broker has gone even further by providing Rezac, who is a certified welder and forklift operator, with new clothes, warm meals and free haircuts. Manzanaeres says he’s close to finding Rezac a place to live and is assisting him with his resume, in hopes that he can find a stable job. Manzanares has since sponsored another homeless man, and is working with the mayor’s office and the Denver Homeless Coalition to advocate for the idea of sponsoring homeless individuals. “I hope every small business takes advantage and maybe take someone’s face and bring a name to it,” he told Denver’s Fox 31.