Local hotel provides opportunity, support to former homeless

With jobs and a supportive staff, the Marriott Marquis hotel is offering the opportunity for a better life to several people who were once out on the streets.

HOUSTON - The Super Bowl is long gone, but a Houston hotel continues to hire the kind of people who helped them through the big game, the formerly homeless.

Six months after Super Bowl 51, there’s one guy still smiling.

"Man, I'm so blessed with how things are going in my life right now,” said Ricardo Hernandez, who used to be homeless. It was the Harris County Sheriff's Office Homeless Outreach Team who took him to Open Door Mission.

His life changed, he even joined the choir and just in time for the Super Bowl, he scored a job working pool maintenance on the Texas-shaped pool at the new Marriott Marquis.

"When this all started happening, I started interacting more with the guests and everything and so I just wanted to get to another level," said Hernandez.

After the Super Bowl, he was promoted to bellman and the hotel started hiring more guys like him to set up everything from banquets to big events.

"I really love working here, to be honest this is the best job I've ever had,” said Kelvin Kayongo, who works on the banquet team.

"This job means everything, to be able to plan, to be able to have a future and to keep moving forward," said Christopher Ramon, also on the banquet team.

"They come to work motivated, not only are they motivating, but being around them motivates the rest of our team,” said Scot Cotton, the hotel's general manager.

A team that kicked off during Super Bowl and is still going with guys who consider it a blessing to be the ones serving guests.

"I know God's got something better for these guys," said Hernandez. “It's here, you just have to make that change."

The hotel has four men from the Open Door Mission on staff. They're a part of about 100 people the hotel hired from community-based organizations, who help people get back on their feet.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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