Homeless man in Tampa back on his feet after help finding forgotten Social Security disability benefits

Homeless Cafe in Tampa

Homeless Cafe in Tampa

A homeless man in Tampa is back on his feet after a case manager and a police officer helped him claim a forgotten bank account that had collected years’ worth of Social Security disability benefits, ABC News reported.

John Helinski, 62, lived in a cardboard box in downtown Tampa for more than three years. Charles Inman, Helinski’s case manager at Drug Abuse and Comprehensive Coordinating Office (DACCO), and Tampa police officer Daniel McDonald helped Helinski gather identification documents, claim his bank account and secure housing.

McDonald, a homeless liaison officer with the Tampa Police Department, drove Helinski personally to get a temporary ID, to the Social Security office and to the bank. They learned that Helinski had been receiving benefits for years, but had lost his debit card and could not access his account.

Helinski said he plans to use his benefits to rent a modest apartment.

McDonald said his work is part of a new model of policing with regard to homeless people. He said it is not the job of liaison officers to arrest people on the streets, but to help them.