Community Comes Together To Help Homeless Family Of 7 In Hollywood
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HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – Jean Jacques Fero is washing dishes at the Circ Hotel in Hollywood and couldn't be happier.
He's employed after some very scary months for him, his wife Ghislene and their 5 children. They arrived from Haiti two months ago and were living in a hotel with relatives, until suddenly everyone was kicked out right before Christmas.
"All he could think is where is he going to go with his family," Jacques said through an interpreter.
Ghislene Jean Charles is the mother to the children, through an interpreter "she said that the moment, in front of the hotel when everything was happening, taking place, she turned looked at her kids and just looked hopeless."
As fate would have it, Jean ran into two Hollywood police officers while walking his kids to school, that meeting with Officers Anthony Truntz and Dwayne Chung changed their lives.
The officers found out the family is living in temporary space in the back of a church.
"I told myself I have to do something," said Officer Truntz. "I have to do something to help these people. Ican't have a whole family of 7 on the streets, wandering from place to place."
The officers are part of Hollywood's homeless task force.
They got to work, getting the family set up for food, but the they needed so much more.
"We know a lot of people," he said. "So we've asked people for things they may be able to offer like clothing, books, school supplies for the kids and bus passes and the community has really helped us out a lot for those things."
Ghislene finally felt like she could breathe again.
"She felt she had some sense of security at that moment that's going to help her and her family," the interpreter said. "The police gave her the sense of long lost relatives meeting all over again, reconnecting."
But it doesn't end here. The Circ hotel answered the call for help too, taking in donations and offering both Jean and Ghislene full time jobs complete with benefits.
"Kindness spreads. Doing good things spreads," said Circ Hotel General Manager Kara Lundgren. "When we posted this story that we were looking for supplies, I had bags and bags of stuff donated, Amazon packages sent here, suitcases sent here, school supplies sent here from my network of people who had never seen or heard of them. People, I believe people still want to do good things."
But there's one more piece needed to complete this picture.
The family has to leave the church soon and they need a place to call home.
"Now we're at the big finale. The finale is trying to find them housing," said Officer Truntz. "We just want them to get on their feet, a foothold, next thing you know they'll be good to go."
Jean and Ghislene are feeling pretty grateful for that chance meeting with the officers.
Through the translator Ghislene said, "She said first and foremost her hero is Jesus Christ, and the police officer is her second hero."
If you'd like to help with housing or other expenses go to neighbors4neighbors.org or call Neighbors for Neighbors at 305-594-4404.
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