Plano, TX – After a conflict with a neighbor led them to leave their apartment a year ago, Christian Willis and his mother checked into a cheap hotel, Comfort Inn & Suites, back in April 2021, with the intention of quickly finding new accommodations. Due to a combination of rising costs, bad credit ratings, lack of steady income, and dwindling savings, Christian and his mother are still living in hotels and struggling to get into a one-bedroom apartment.
Christian, who is often the sole provider for his family, is now employed at a warehouse. Like many Americans, he is grateful to be working, but is still unable to make ends meet. With his paycheck — about $500 weekly — he’s able to pay hotel bills ($400-430 weekly) and stretch the remainder to pay for groceries and transportation to work. This leaves little to nothing left over and prevents him from securing an apartment.
Earlier in the year, he managed to buy a few simple amenities, like an air fryer and a mini-fridge, so he could make food from the hotel room rather than always ordering in from DoorDash due to the lack of a kitchen. But in several instances, Christian has had to use either cash advance apps like Earnin to borrow additional money or pay-later apps like Zip to break his hotel expenses into smaller billing amounts. At first, these methods allowed him to avoid traditional payday loans and bought some time for his mother to land a job that would temporarily help with the hotel bills. However, after hotel rates increased and the owner of the Comfort Inn abruptly closed the property in June 2022, Christian and his mother hastily moved to Red Roof Inn.
A month later, the family’s belongings were on the verge of being auctioned as a result of unpaid rent on a public storage unit. To stop this, Christian had to urgently take out a payday loan with a costly APR. Now, after payday loans take their deductions, it’s a struggle for Christian and his mother to pay for the hotel room along with expensive ride-sharing fares just to commute to work every day. Despite the long walking distance, each of them tries to take the bus or train whenever they can. Nevertheless, Christian faces a weekly battle over settling his bills and ensuring they’re not turned out of the hotel.
Knowing that this living situation is unsustainable given their meager resources and heavy dependence on payday loans to get by, Christian had decided to appeal to charitable people willing to help. He created a GoFundMe page back in March and his goal now is to raise $1,500. These funds will allow him to rent a one-room apartment and get an inexpensive car or electric scooter that will alleviate the difficulty of commuting to and from his job.
With costs rising due to inflation and supply chain issues ever since the pandemic, Christian understands that times are hard everywhere. Although he’d hoped he wouldn’t have to depend on the charity of strangers, the GoFundMe is truly a last resort to help him and his mother transition back to a real home in an affordable apartment. However, despite his inclusion of photos and videos on his social media pages documenting his situation, he has often faced backlash for promoting his fundraiser. People have been quick to scold him without first fully understanding his story and hardships.
Because of this hindrance and disparagement, Christian has now set up a new, separate crowdfunding campaign on Fundly. This campaign is focused on receiving support through donations that will help alleviate his loan debt while attempting to seek financial relief through a consolidation service. Additionally, in an effort to use all the resources available to him and give back in any way he can, he is also promoting a number of product fundraising web stores containing gifts people might be interested in purchasing for the holidays. A portion of each order will go toward his fundraising goal.
Even in the face of these hardships, Christian strives to remain optimistic. He states, “I still believe in destiny and purpose, and I’m not giving up on finding a sense of fulfillment. I have big hopes and dreams for independence and a new career so I can pursue a better future. I also believe everyone should have a second chance if they’re as determined to find that light at the end of the tunnel and work through the obstacles blocking their path to success.”
To hear more from Christian directly, view this video. For additional updates on his story, connect with him at facebook.com/ChristiansHotelFundraiser orinstagram.com/hotelfundraiser. You can help aid Christian and his mother by donating on either their GoFundMe or Fundly page. Alternatively, those who would rather show their support by purchasing fundraising items can make a contribution through one of the online gift stores featured on his Wix page. Donations made through either crowdfunding site will be available to Christian immediately.