SAN DIEGO -- Father Joe Carroll, who has spent decades caring for San Diego's homeless and disadvantaged, will retire effective July 12.
The announcement was made by Father Joe's Villages spokesman Oscar Labiano.
Carroll's homeless advocate work started in 1982 when he was assigned St. Vincent De Paul. Carroll admitted at the time he didn't even want the assignment.
"I did everything to get fired. I didn't want it. I wanted to be in parish work," said Carroll. "Then people started donating money and the next thing we had was a building. I thought that would be my first and last building."
Today, Carroll has at least 20 buildings in San Diego and Indio, California. They include shelters for the homeless, permanent housing for people with AIDS, and a runaway teen center.
"We went from 200 people a day to 4000 people a day," said Carroll. "Everyday, I meet people who are a success story of ours."
Over the years, people have taught Carroll a thing or two about everyday needs.
"We used to say, 'we'll give out one diaper to one baby per day, you know I change my underwear once a day whats the big deal?'" said Carroll. "It's been a learning experience other than church life."
Carroll became a television fixture over the years as he asked for donations to the center, which spun off into seven villages caring for the homeless throughout the Southwest.
The organization is also involved in creating affordable housing and runs the Neil Good Day Center, where the homeless can take care of basic needs, like taking a shower, resting or even charging a cell phone.
Even though he is retiring, Carroll said he will continue with fundraising efforts.
Carroll was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1974, and eight years later was tapped by Bishop Leo T. Maher to lead St. Vincent de Paul.
Homeless advocate Father Joe to retire
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