Chet Peeples was looking for a fresh start when he arrived in the Bay Area in the early 2000s. He was in his 40s and had racked up a string of felony convictions in his hometown of Memphis, including “attempted robbery, theft armed robbery, aggravated burglary, theft over $10,000 and auto theft,” he told me. There were also multiple hit and run incidents, prescription fraud, addiction to Valium and Klonopin, and multiple suicide attempts.
But Peeples was smart. He managed to land a job with an engineering firm in Walnut Creek in 2002, although his good fortune did not last long. Six months later, he was fired for poor performance, in part due to a crack addiction, he said. Unemployed, he became homeless.
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