COVID-19 Crisis Left the Homeless Abandoned, a Trio of Unsung Heroes Create an Alliance Through Instagram to Help

Yuri Williams, from left, Cheryl Rich and Sennett Devermont brave the homeless encampments to address the abandoned population struggling to survive on the streets in Los Angeles amid the coronvirus. Photo by Kaylin Sigal.

A Future Superhero And Friends, a 501(c) 3 foundation, established by Yuri Williams to provide essential supportive services, emergency services to vulnerable men, women, children and animals; as well as help them return to stable, permanent housing.

Yuri Williams aka Superhero dresses like Spider-Man to bring joy into kids' lives whose world is on Skid Row in Los Angeles.

Homeless Advocates Cheryl Rich @cherlyhelps, Sennett Devermont @MrCheckpoint_ and Yuri Williams @afuturesupehero Bring Hope for L.A.'s Vulnerable Population

I am thankful for Cheryl Rich and Sennett Devermont who share my vision to improve the quality of life and restore the dignity and hope for anyone through selfless acts of love. The world needs that.”
— Yuri Williams, founder of A Future Superhero And Friends
LOS ANGELES, CA, USA, May 7, 2020 / -- The world is confined and isolated because of the coronavirus pandemic. While the large majority of the population can self-isolate in their homes, the homeless don't have that option. Surviving on the streets generally means constantly being on the move.

"Choosing between survival and social distancing is challenging because part of survival is that you are stronger in numbers," said Cheryl Rich, an advocate for the homeless. "Living in a group environment can reduce the dangers of criminal activity from being robbed, beaten, sexually assaulted and murdered."

In Los Angeles there are tens of thousands of people of all ages living on the streets in tents, boxes or without shelter. Rich was headed to Skid Row to volunteer in the L.A. Mission kitchen. She noticed a young child surrounded by a lot of bags and suitcases. "I recognized that this was a homeless situation," said Rich. "I stopped my car to discover that the boy, 7 years old, was sleeping on the sidewalk with his mom and two sisters."

Latoya Johnson, 17, spoke for the family and told Rich they came from Las Vegas because they had called the Los Angeles Department of Human Services and was told that they would get help with housing when they got to LA. Rich said, "I was shocked and decided to document our conversation and post it on Instagram. My goal was to find help so I tagged Sennett Devermont aka @Mrcheckpoint_ to alert the social media community." In the meantime, Rich gave the Johnson family $50 and recommended a safe place for them to sleep for at least for the night.

Devermont reposted Rich's video which attracted the attention of Yuri Williams, the founder of A Future Superhero And Friends, a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Devermont whose mantra is "AFTP" that stands for "Always For The People," uses his social media platform that reaches millions of people. He urges them to pay it forward and help whoever, however and whenever. "Always use your phone to film incidents you’ll want recorded," he said.

Through the power of social media, Williams contacted Rich to offer a solution. The next morning, Williams and Rich located the Johnson family who were wandering around in Skid Row aka Tent City. "While we were standing on 5th and Towne with the family, a man took off all of his clothes," said Rich. "We knew we had to find a way to get these children out of this unstable environment."

Williams called Paul Avila the founder of the nonprofit Pauly’s Project. "Paul is a good friend with a big heart," said Williams. "I told Paul that the Johnson family was stranded on Skid Row and there was no way they could spend another night on the streets."

The threat of COVID-19 has greatly diminished the services typically provided for the homeless population. Volunteers are no longer available and the public places that would allow restroom and handwashing options are closed. There are no vacancies in shelters. In spite of all the odds, Williams and Rich were hopeful.

Avila called Williams within a few hours with the news that the Johnson Family would be guaranteed a 5-night stay at a hotel. "The swiftness of Yuri's actions was nothing short of a miracle," said Rich. "I found out that Yuri, who is very humble, is a real-life superhero. He is known for wearing a Spider-Man costume to anonymously perform good deeds."

Williams has toured 50 states, twice, and performed more than 5,000 kinds acts. Unfortunately, Williams is in need of funding and volunteers to continue his "tour of duty" to deliver what the world needs now - hope, compassion, and essential goods.

"I am thankful for Cheryl Rich and Sennett Devermont who share my vision to improve the quality of life and restore the dignity and hope for anyone through selfless acts of love. The world needs that," said Williams who connects with people in need of kindness and help through Instagram and Nextdoor, an app. "We are just 3 people and need the help of everyone."

To help them continue their work, contact Rich at 310-877-500 or DM @cherylhelps or Williams at 562-999-1304 or DM @afuturesuperhero.

About A Future Superhero And Friends 501(c)(3) non-profit

Yuri Williams formed the non-profit to provide essential supportive services, emergency services, and diversion to animals, houseless, veterans, elderly, men, women, disabled, ill and children. He also helps them return to stable, permanent homes as quickly as possible. Williams has completed several projects over the years that include blood drives, movie-night, toy drives, feeding and clothing the homeless. He has visited more than 50 states to bring hope and help. Whenever called to cheer up children battling medical issues, he dresses up as Spider-Man to bring a smile to their face and joy into their hearts.

Yuri Williams

Cheryl Rich
Instagram: @cherlyhelps
Facebook: therealcherylrich

Sennett Devermont
Instagram: @MrCheckpoint_

Marie Lemelle
Platinum Star Public Relations
+1 213-276-7827
email us here

LaToya Johnson, 17, talks to homeless advocate Cheryl Rich about her family's dire situation