Special Friendship Pulls One Man Out Of Tent City - KMSP-TV

Special Friendship Pulls One Man Out Of Tent City

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BENSALEM, Pa. -

Talk about getting by with a little help from your friends: A man once homeless and living in a tent city is now working and renting his own place all thanks to a new friend.

And, as FOX 29's Stephanie Esposito tells us, now that he has his life back in order, he's trying to put his family back together, as well.

Jim is happy to meet his new neighbors Rita and Jim. He'll be moving into a similar model next door, and they already have a mutual friend.

The reason Jim is so excited about his new place isn't just the closet space. In his last place, he didn't have running water or electricity.

For the last 18 months, Jim was staying in a tent.

"It's not a good way to live, but it actually helped me. I found peace," he said.

Jim used to have a job, a home, a car, even kids until 2009, when he got laid off.

He collected unemployment for a few years, but then, he says, "I lost everything."

"Depressed, anxiety – I gave up on life," he said.

He moved to tent city in Bristol, hidden away in the woods on Route 13.

One day, Joe Nocito and some friends visited their hidden city.

"He came back with blankets and food and supplies," Jim said.

We first introduced you to Joe and his girlfriend Megan back in December, when they were collecting supplies for the homeless in their hometown. They called it "The Warming Hearts Project."

"Yeah, it actually was a good thing to see that there's people who still care in this world," Jim said.

But Joe was passing out more than just warm clothes. In fact, he helped Jim and Rita move up, too.

"The Warming Hearts Project was more because it was winter and people are cold. But then it turned into just warming them as a person," Nocito said.

Joe hung out with Jim and helped him realize his goals, overcome his depression and move on with life.

Asked what brought him out of it, Jim said, "My kids."

Joe helped Jim get a job again. He just got a new apartment and is planning on buying a car and getting his three little girls back.

"Well, I have a plan," he said. "But once I've got it in me to do it, there's no stopping," Jim said.

"I'm not gonna let you stop," Nocito said.

Joe and Jim believe there are at least 11 tent cities in Bensalem and Falls Townships alone. But both men believe there's hope.

"I've proved now that it's possible to come back, too," Jim said. "Everything's possible."

"We're not trying to turn this into a huge, nationwide thing," Nocito said. "It's really just friends helping friends, you know, just taking time and seeing what's out there and seeing what we can do to help someone, just pay it forward."

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