Florida Officer Lends Helping Hand to Homeless

Tampa Police Department's first homeless liaison is making a difference in the lives of those who live on the streets.


"He took me down there, got the application and stuff," Sawyers said.

McDonald also has worked to help Elsie Powell, 59.

Powell has been homeless -- off and on -- for years. She said she receives about $700 a month in disability pay because of a back injury, but many apartment complexes have turned her down.

It's a difficult life on the streets; some people are violent and steal, Powell said. She said she wants help but many other people like living on the streets and have no use for McDonald.

"He does an excellent job," Powell said of McDonald. "A lot of people don't want his help, but he really does try."

 

Jenkins-Leviston wants a place to stay, but she doesn't know which way to go or what to do to get off Tampa's streets.

Her luck has been bad since her husband died of cancer three years ago, she said.

The Mississippi native said she has depression and had a brain tumor removed, and she still has problems associated with that.

After meeting McDonald, she said, she believes in him. She saw him talking with another homeless woman and trying to help, and she wanted his help, too.

McDonald took down Jenkins-Leviston's information and referred her to a homeless recovery program on Tampa Street. He gave her his telephone number and said if she needs a ride to Social Security, he could help.

"I was so happy," she said of meeting McDonald. "Thank God."

Copyright 2012 - Tampa Tribune, Fla.

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