LOS FELIZ—Ed Denst, a 79-year-old former Marine, is no longer homeless after living on the streets of Los Feliz for 20 years.
Two years ago, Denst became known for donating $250 to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the charity that fed him a hot meal each day at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church.
According to their website, the Society of St. Vincent is an “international, Catholic volunteer organization that serves the needy of any religious background free of charge.” Over the years, he befriended St. Vincent’s board president, Claire Padama. He gave her the donation, made entirely in $1 bills, that was collected from people who had given to him on the streets.
The money went to people who needed utility or rental assistance. CBS 2 covered Denst’s story in May 2013, and he told them, “If someone gives to you something, then giving back [makes you] feel good.”
Denst became homeless after the death of his wife 25 years ago, with whom he used to run a donut shop. While grieving for his wife, he gave up his business, sold his house and spent all of his money.
Months after his story aired, Denst fell and ended up at Kaiser Permanente Hospital. He was recognized by a doctor who wanted to make sure he didn’t end up in the streets again. The doctor got in touch with Padama, who helped Denst find a home. He now lives at Serrano Convalescent Hospital in East Hollywood, where his living expenses are covered by Medicare. He recently celebrated his 79th birthday surrounded by fellow residents of the hospital and St. Vincent volunteers, including Padama, who often visits him.