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Assignment Update: Housing for a Homeless Family

SECOND ASSIGNMENT UPDATE: Initially, we were asked to provide car insurance for a homeless woman and her 10-year-old daughter if an officer was able to obtain a donated car for her. Yesterday, we were thrilled to tell you that Lindsay Honda donated a car. Today, we'll update you about Shaunea and Nakeyah's housing situation.

REFERRING OFFICER: Columbus Division of Police Community Liaison Officer James Poole (20 Precinct, Southeast Side)

When we first met with Shaunea, she told us the homeless shelter was helping her find an apartment, so what she needed help with the most was a car. However, several weeks later, when it became clear that we were going to be able to get her a car, but she still didn't have an apartment, Ofc Poole announced, "I'm going to get them out of that shelter. This is taking too long, and I want them in an apartment by Christmas. You with me?" We readily agreed.

Ofc Poole is a force of nature. He's energetic, caring, and enthusiastic. He loves his job and the city he serves, and he just wants to make the world a better place whenever he has the chance. He focused his considerable energy on helping Shaunea and Nakeyah get into an apartment, contacting a property management group that would work with Shaunea despite her poor credit history.

There was just one catch--the owner of the apartment complex the property management group recommended had negative experiences of people coming from homeless shelters. The donated furniture they brought with them sometimes had bedbugs. We assured Ofc Poole that we'd be able to obtain furniture somehow and told him to move forward.

Within an hour or two, CPD Ofc Frank Golden (628 Freeway Patrol) contacted us. He'd seen a recent post of ours in which officers from 13 Precinct (South Side) had been moving a donated couch into an apartment of a domestic violence victim and wanted to know if we needed any more furniture for her. He had an entire household because his mother-in-law was moving into assisted living.

That apartment on 13 Precinct had already been fully filled, mostly by the officers there, but we needed it for Shaunea and perhaps another person the 13 Precinct officers were working with, led by Ofc Heidi Graber.

We love the officers on 13 Precinct, and as it happens, the apartment Shaunea would be moving to is located there. Ofc Graber met up with Ofc Poole and Shaunea when they went to tour the apartment on Tuesday, just to say hello and to welcome Shaunea to the neighborhood. Ofc Poole insisted on paying the $40 application fee and wouldn't allow us to reimburse him.

The homeless charity that Shaunea was trying to find housing through generally agrees to cover the security deposit and first month's rent. Because of the status of her credit report, the apartment complex required she put down an additional $650 that the homeless charity would not cover. You donated $1,105 towards insurance on our initial post, and we said anything above that would be used towards getting this family into a home. Since we didn't have to use any money towards insurance, we readily paid that $650, leaving $455.

The next obstacle we encountered was that the apartment complex required the utilities be put into Shaunea's name before she could move in. Due to debts she'd accrued previously, both the gas and the electric required substantial deposits. Ofc Poole paid the $175 gas deposit before we even knew one was required--these CPD officers not only protect and serve but they do so with lightning fast speed. We paid the $175 deposit for the electricity, leaving $280 left of the donations you've already made.

We mentioned that Shaunea delivers packages professionally, and this is obviously a very busy time for her. She had two days off this week, and on her first day off, Wednesday, we got the papers signed for the car. Yesterday, Ofc Poole took her to get the paperwork signed for the apartment. There was a bit of a kerfuffle with the homeless charity, however. Things happened so fast that they suspected fraud, and Ofc Poole had to explain what was going on and ultimately it was taken care of. However, they won't pay for the entire amount that they said they would on her rent, so the remainder of our funds will go to that. If you would like to make a donation, we will use the money towards setting up her household, food, and Christmas presents.

Ofc Poole has a covered trailer, and he's going to meet at Ofc Golden's mother-in-law's house tomorrow to move Shaunea in while she's at work. We texted Ofc Dan Snyder (11 Pct, South Central Columbus) who did the Brake Replacement Assignment with us in November to see if he could get some officers to help with moving. Within seven minutes he'd already found four officers to help move a homeless stranger on the Saturday morning before Christmas. We'll meet them tomorrow along with about five officers that Ofc Poole invited.

Ladies and gentlemen, may we present to you the side of your Columbus Division of Police that shows up for duty every day, but that rarely makes the news. 💙

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