ACCEPTING AID: Ex-homeless man recovers, pays it forward - KMSP-TV

ACCEPTING AID: Ex-homeless man recovers, pays it forward

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On one of the coldest days of the year in January, Fox 9 News spoke with many of the homeless who chose to stay on the streets instead of taking shelter -- but one of those has made a lot of changes since.

When Eric Lacour saw himself in the story, he realized it was time to get help -- but this is not a feel-good story about a guy who picked himself up by his bootstraps. It's the story of a man who allowed himself to accept the help some had tried offering for years.

FOX 9 ARCHIVE: Shelter envoys try to coax homeless in from cold

Now, some say his golden voice brings them closer to God, and by the sounds of his singing, he could be mistaken for an angel -- but Lacour is the first to admit he's far from holy.

"Stubbornness, stubbornness," Lacour said of why he waited.

When the temperature fell 20 degrees below zero in the Twin Cities in January, Fox 9 News found Lacour and several other homeless men and women on the streets who refused the offer of a warm place to stay.

"I don't think anybody realizes what they look like when they are homeless," Lacour said.

Lacour said that was certainly true for him -- until he saw himself on television.

"They still continued to stretch their arm out and say, 'We're here for you,': he reflected. "I think that love, that kind of love -- that stretched arm -- is what finally got me."

After spending 15 years on the streets with an addiction to hard drugs, Lacour finally admitted he needed help and got it.

"Everybody has little dings and scratches on them," Envoy Bill Miller said. "I never give up on anybody."

For the past four months, Lacour has been going through an intense program with the Salvation Army that aimed to help him spiritually and practically with job training. Then, he was connected with a job as a personal care assistant and got his own apartment.

"This is the big transformation," Lacour said with a laugh.

Now, Lacour is working to return the favor by going back to help homeless people under the same bridge where he used to sleep, trying to find others who may refuse his help -- for now.

Whenever he returns to the Salvation Army's Harbor Light Center in downtown Minneapolis, he never forgets where he started -- singing songs of praise and knowing that he was once lost before an outstretched arm helped him find his way.

As for what's next, Lacour says he hopes to reconnect with his 22-year-old daughter. The two haven't spoken in years, but he hopes to restore that relationship.

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