“We miss Kenny here don’t we?” Shandai Jenkins exclaimed as Kenny entered the building. Kenny flashed his big grin as he walked by. Since Kenny got back on his feet, he had been a fixture at the Chosen 300 homeless ministry in Philadelphia. He loves to give back to help others as he had been helped. He recently landed a full time job at Impact Thrift Store in Norristown. This new job has made a huge difference for Kenny, whose criminal record had kept him unemployed for years.
Several years ago Kenny was homeless and struggling. He started coming to Chosen 300 for help. He received a meal, biblical teaching and tools to become self-sufficient. But each time he tried to get up, the weight of his criminal record would bring him down. At one point Kenny found a temporary job through an employment agency. The company took to Kenny as he was a hard worker and had a can-do attitude. Soon the company told the agency that they wanted to offer him a full-time job. But a background check revealed several arrests and the job offer never came. Kenny was devastated, especially since the most damaging arrest was a false accusation that he had been acquitted of. Because it remained a matter of public record, it was baggage from his past that he still had to carry.
In 2013 Kenny came to the first Expungement Clinic at Chosen 300. He met with one of our volunteer attorneys who went over his record. Kenny was reluctant at first to share this painful part of his past which he had moved on from. But, he said, he decided to trust God and the volunteer attorney to try to make this right, once and for all. A team of CLCP staff and volunteers were able to file petitions which cleared nearly all of his past arrests.
Today Kenny is happy to share his story and to share the difference an expungement made for him. He feels more free to serve God and other men through the ministry without the weight of past mistakes and false accusations.
Kenny is only one of thousands of men whose path to a better life is blocked by a criminal record. These men are not looking for a handout but rather a hand up, and the CLCP team hopes to show them the gracious hand of Jesus by helping these men with the criminal records expungement process.