62-Year-Old Is Homeless For Years Until Police Locate Old Bank Account Under His Name

Jul 25, 2021 by apost team

A man living on the streets in Tampa, Florida, has received a new chance at life when he found an old bank account that has been collecting social security benefits for years without his knowledge. John Helinski was born in Poland but is an American citizen who was 62 and had been homeless for three years in 2015. 

Through the help of a hardworking police officer named Daniel McDonald and Helinski's case manager Charles Inman of the Drug Abuse and Comprehensive Coordinating Office (DACCO), Helinski has been able to change his entire living situation. These two individuals did everything they could to help Helinski get an I.D. card which is necessary for employment and housing, as well as applying for government assistance.

Helinski told McDonald and Inman that he had been receiving Social Security benefits in the past but thought they had run out. When the three men went to the Social Security office they discovered that Helinski had been receiving benefit payments for years. With his I.D. Helinski and the group were able to search for, and found, an old bank account that was long forgotten. The account was still receiving regular payments and contained enough money for Helinski to pay rent for a modest apartment and buy groceries. 

The bank had changed names without Helinski knowing and this is what led him to forget about the account, as he assumed that he had nothing to fall back on. With the help of some dedicated individuals, Helinski now has a safe place to call home. Keep reading to hear more details about this inspiring story. 

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video 

Prior to finding his lost account, Helinski had been living in cardboard boxes and under benches, that is until he found DACCO. Organizations like this are crucial in helping homeless individuals get their lives back. For Helinski, the key to finding his way out of homelessness was getting an I.D. card. 

McDonald is one of the few police officer's whose role is dedicated to helping unhoused people find the resources they need. "As a homeless liaison officer, the bread and butter of my work often involves hopping from department to department trying to help homeless people find the I.D. they need in order to get things like work and housing," Officer McDonald said to ABC News.

Luckily, because this is his job, McDonald knew exactly what to do to find Helinski the proper paperwork he needed. "First, I drove him personally to the local tax collector's office, where he was able to get a temporary State of Florida I.D. card," McDonald explained

The officer continued, "With his consular birth certificate and temporary I.D., we went to the Social Security office, and I just walked up to them and said, 'This man used to have benefits, can you help us?'"

Now with the I.D. and confirmation that he was receiving benefits, Helinski had everything he needed to access his forgotten account and the money that is rightfully his. 

Inman shared that there were moments in the beginning where they were unsure how things would turn out. He said, "This situation looked really difficult, and I wasn't sure how it was going to end up…If it failed, it meant we'd put a 62-year-old man on the street, and Officer McDonald and I were not OK with that." Fortunately, everything ended up working out great for Helinski. 


What do you think of this incredible story? Did you find it hopeful or inspiring? Let us know, and don't hesitate to send this on to your loved ones. 

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