(WMC TV) - He's made his bed, and he has to lie in it. It is just that his bed is his Buick.
"I sleep in the driver's seat, just in case I have to get up and go," said 'Billy.' "Lay her back, thank the good Lord and nighty-night."
His chipper attitude masks the burden of owing $14,000 in child support after failing to keep three years of receipts. He had a daughter out of wedlock 16 years ago.
"I'm just overwhelmed with the (child support) bills," he said. "I had to choose between the rent and a car to get to work.
"So I made the choice to live in my vehicle, so I can get to and from work."
To and from the storage facility where he keeps all of his possessions.
His bathroom: a box of baby wipes.
"They work good on grown-up's, too," he chuckled.
Shelby County Juvenile Court officials and officials with Maximus, the private company that manages Shelby County child support collections, would not confirm Billy's payment history or status on the grounds of "judicial ethics".
But at least one official with the Tennessee Department of Human Services told Action News 5 the state's child support collections have been more aggressive since they were privatized in 2009.
"There are more non-custodial parents meeting their current child support obligations," said agency spokesperson Devin Stone. Neither she nor Maximus officials would provide statistics on a short deadline.
"Billy" said he's not making excuses. He is making better decisions.
No more struggles with alcohol. A good, solid job. A healing relationship with his daughter -- while paying $450 a month, the lion's share of his paycheck, to support her.
He is saving what little he can to see where his faith, and his Buick, will take him.
"I'm starting over," he said. "You make the decision to turn your life around. I'm going to let God take over and see where he leads me."
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