TAMPA, Fla. -- A formerly homeless man in Tampa, Fla., has brighter days ahead thanks to the work of a caring case worker and police officer. They helped a 62-year-old man get identification, and in doing so, helped give him a better life.
John Helinski was homeless for three years in downtown Tampa.
"I remember having a cardboard box and sleeping by the bus stop there, and sleeping underneath the benches there and no one would see me," he told WFTS.
Now, he's got a locker, a bed and a dedicated case worker at a new 24-7 one-stop-shop housing center for homeless in Hillsborough County. But his story gets way better than that.
Helinkski needed identification, so case manager Charles Inman and Tampa Police Officer Dan Macdonald went to work. Eventually, they got the Polish-born American citizen a driver's license, a social security card and his name back.
But then, Helinski got some even better news. He discovered an old forgotten bank account at a Tampa bank branch. A bank account with money in it. A substantial amount of money -- social security benefits -- piling up for years. It was enough to buy him permanent housing.
"I guess I'm exhilarated, excited, you know," Helinski said.
"I think we were both stunned. we weren't quite sure what to say," MacDonald said.