A gift for James on his 50th birthday — a home

Brought tears, it did

Jim McKeever

James Williamson at his 50th birthday party. Photo by Michelle Gabel. After years of living on the streets, James gets the keys to his own apartment the day after he turns 50. Photo by Michelle Gabel.

A few weeks ago I asked my homeless friend James what he thought about his upcoming 50th birthday.

“It’s just another day,” he said as he sorted returnable bottles and cans before taking them to the redemption center. “Just another day.”

James couldn’t have been more wrong. He turned 50 today; tomorrow he gets the keys to his own apartment. If there’s a better birthday present, I’d like to see it.

Thanks to the efforts of a variety of people who know and admire him, James is finally off the streets — where he’s been for more than half his life.

Today, James’ friends and supporters helped him celebrate his 50th and the beginning of a new chapter. The mayor of Syracuse, Stephanie Miner, attended…

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