Living in a cardboard box
- John Helinski, 62, slept in a cardboard box in Tampa Bay for three years
- He applied for homeless housing, but struggled as he had no identification
- It had all been stolen years earlier - virtually forcing him onto the streets
- A case worker and a cop looked into his past and uncovered his records
- Helsinki then went into a Tampa bank and discovered a lost account
- Enough money and social security was in there for him to buy a house
For three years, John Helinski's home was a cardboard box at a Tampa Bay bus stop.
But when a cop and his case manger looked into his past, they found a previously lost bank account with money and enough social security benefits to buy his own house.
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John Helinski, 62, spent three years living in a cardboard box on the streets of Tampa Bay. He then tried to apply for a place at a homeless shelter, but struggled because all of his personal identification had been stolen
A cop and a case manager then looked into his past, and were able to retrieve his social security number and his driver's licence
DACCO Case Manager Charles Inman told the Florida station: 'He needed to have an identification, but we couldn't get an identification without a birth certificate.
'There was no other option to succeed. You know, the thought of putting a 62-year-old man back on the street wasn't acceptable.
He then recruited the help of Tampa Police officer Dan McDonald.
'I enjoy it because I like a challenge, ' he said. 'We first had to figure out that we needed a consular record of foreign birth or something like that.'
Helinski was born in Poland, but he is an American citizen, has a driver's licence and a social security number.
Then, as they kept digging into his background, Helsinki visited a Tampa bank branch and discovered an old account.
It hadn't been touched for years, so social security had built up, and he even had cash.
'At that time, it was Landmark Bank. Then it became Bank of America, ' he said.
'I guess I'm exhilarated, excited, you know.'
Helinksi is now looking for permanent accommodation. His search is focused on a small apartment.
Case Manager Charles Inman (left) and Tampa Bay police officer Dan McDonald were determined to find out more and dug further into Helinski's background
Helinski walked into a Bank of America branch in Tampa Bay and discovered an old, forgotten account with enough social security benefits in it to buy a new house