Homeless Delray Beach man gets new lease on life thanks to local author Frank McKinney
By: Tara Jakeway
Jan. 14, 2023
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Joey has been homeless sleeping on Delray Beach streets for the last four years. Now, thanks to the kindness of strangers, he’ll have a place to call his own. “Sleeping outside isn’t fun for nobody, especially at 63 years old,” Joey said.
He’s among the growing number of homeless in South Florida, but he says it’s not for lack of trying.
He always had a job, worked hard and was never late. Then one thing caught up to him – having nowhere to stay.
“I had a job but because this is Florida and it’s 80 degrees in the nighttime, you can’t work too many days like that without taking a shower,” he said.
His circumstance cost him his job when he was so close to starting over. Down the street, writer Frank McKinney had also just seemingly lost everything.
“We have something in common, it’s just our adversities were different,” McKinney said. “The day the country shut down with COVID, I was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, so my whole world was shattered in an instant.”
An unlikely bond formed at different rock bottoms with McKinney hearing about Joey from the community.
“Oh, that was a simple twist of fate,” Joey said.
“In South Florida where the rent is just escalating, there’s a guy like Joey who was making decent money but couldn’t get enough for first last and security,” McKinney said.
Until the moment on Friday the 13th when McKinney changed Joey’s life. He handed him a check that covers all three, funded by his Delray Beach-based nonprofit, Caring House Project.
“It’s euphoria, here’s your apartment and here’s two months’ rent,” Joey said.
Thanks to McKinney, Joey finally has that fresh start and when asked what he’ll do first once moved in, Joey smiled and said, “Sleep for about two days.”
The second thing Joey’s going to do is go back to work. With this foundation, he hopes to save up and one day help someone else off the street.