In September 2014, Kim Washington was living in her SUV, which she named “The Silver Bullet,” in St. Paul, Minnesota, with five children and grandchildren after escaping a bad situation in Florida. She said, “It was hard. We had some tough times. We had people looking in the truck, trying to get in. They see single females. It was some tricky times.” She had grown up in Minneapolis and decided to return when the relationship with her boyfriend in Florida got bad. For weeks, the family of six lived in the SUV, and eventually people on the street where they parked called police to ask them to check on the wellbeing of the family. Police officers arrived and decided to help the family. They bought food and gifts coupons and paid for the family to live for a few days in a hotel or motel. Ms. Washington said, “I was very leery of them. Every time I saw them I was like, ‘Oh, Lord, here they come to harass us.’ A lot of them were kind, empathetic, and they understood. I appreciate them.” The police also helped her to get other kinds of help aimed at finding the family a permanent home. She said, “I wasn’t a big fan of the police, but them helping allowed us to view them in a different light and say, ‘Yes, they really do want to protect and serve,’ it was really nice.” Among the helping police officers were Theresa Spencer, Mary Alberg, and Jill McRae.
For More Information: Video report by Maury Glover, “St. Paul police help homeless woman caring for 5 kids.” KMSP-TV (Minneapolis, Minnesota). 15 September 2014
For More Information: Mara Gottfried, “St. Paul police take up homeless family’s cause.” TWincities.com. 17 September 20014; updated 19 September 2014
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