Neighbors rally together to support Miami man, 70, who was left homeless after the city demolished his home

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MIAMI, FLA – In a hate-filled world, it’s nice to see empathy and kindness still exist out there amongst neighbors.

Michael Hamilton, 70, has lived at his home on Northwest 45th Street in Miami for the last 60 years.  On August 18, he was served a 10-day notice to vacate his property, due to unsafe living conditions.

The 10 days would have given Hamilton until August 28 to vacate, however, the demolition crews contracted to do the job, decided to arrive 48 hours earlier than was ordered, catching Mr. Hamilton off guard and with nowhere to go.   

Thinking he had two more days to make plans on where he was going to live, Mr. Hamilton received a bit of a shock when demolition crews arrived two full days early, leaving him with nowhere to go.

Describing the moment, the demolition crew showed up unexpectedly to his home, Hamilton told a reporter for NBC 6 he was ordered to vacate immediately. 

He was unable to take anything with him but his birth certificate and a few documents.    

“I didn’t even have any shoes on,” he told the reporter. 

When asked by a NBC 6 reporter to give his opinion on the situation, he said:

“Sadness not as much as anger.  It makes no logical sense” he said. “I don’t see how any of this is due process of the law”.

‘This Is an Outrage’: City Demolishes Man’s Miami Home of 60 Years

 

With the late summer temperatures averaging over 80 degrees, Hamilton had been sleeping on his front lawn, out in the elements and the blazing Miami sun, since the wrecking crew arrived.

A neighbor’s grandson Keith Lorren wrote in a Facebook post, describing Hamilton’s living conditions, stating:

“Birds were pecking at his feet.  He was outside in the grass and the heat with no water, no food and no home.  This is an outrage.” 

WPGN, Local 10 news reports the home had previously been signed over to Hamilton’s cousin and the city’s building department tried, for the past year to reach the cousin, but it is unclear if the notice was ever received.

A statement released by the City of Miami said,

“Several attempts were made to contact the property owner during the last 13 months to no avail,” the statement read.

The City of Miami takes the safety of its residents very seriously and for that reason the Department of Human Services is working diligently to relocate the resident to a hotel.”  

The City says they sent pictures of the home before it was demolished, saying it was unsafe, along with a list of several code violations.  Hamilton told reporters he and his family were never contacted by the City of Miami. 

Lorren decided to ensure Mr. Hamilton would have a roof over his head and began to collect donations via social media.  He was able to raise enough money to allow Mr. Hamilton to stay in a local hotel for a while.

The assistant director of building services for the City of Miami, said they did not know the property was occupied and if they had known, “the outcome would have been different.”

Lorren says:

“It broke my heart because my grandparents passed away, and when I see Mr. Michael, I see my grandparents”. 

Lorren feels the city should build him a new home on the same lot.

The Department of Human Services was also contacted to help Mr. Hamilton.  According to Milton Vikers, an employee of DHS, told NBC 6 staff members have reached out to Hamilton and he says:

“Our staff will relocate him tomorrow into a hotel space that will last 14 days, which will give us time to move this individual into transitional or permanent [housing].”

Thanks to the kindness and the generosity of a neighbor, Mr. Hamilton will be able to live out the remainder of his years, comfortably, instead of having to live on the streets of Miami.

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He’s a teen who wants to be a cop. He’s been feeding hundreds of police officers. Let’s amplify his voice. 

COLUMBUS, OH – Markel Davis, a 17-year-old Columbus teen, singlehandedly grilled enough food for 100 police officers every evening for an entire week. 

WSYX in Columbus reported on Davis performing this amazing and generous feat following a period of intense anti-police demonstrations. 

The high school senior is a uniformed member of the Columbus Public Safety Corps, a collaborative recruitment program between the Columbus Police Department, and the Columbus City School System. 

He said that he has always looked up to police officers, and has wanted to be one since he was three years old. 

The most intense and violent demonstrating came in the early stages of organized BLM protests in the city, during a three day period from when they began on May 28, until May 31.  Governor Mike Dewine called up the Ohio National Guard, and also the Ohio Highway Patrol to help the Columbus Police Department enforce law and quell the violence. 

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther also established a citywide nightly curfew.

 

Davis, acting on an idea that came to him over that weekend, began buying groceries with his mother Jessica on Monday.  She helped him buy hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwursts, buns, chips, and bottled water.  She also helped him package the meals after he grilled the meats in their driveway. 

He hand delivered all 100 meals to grateful officers every evening for supper. 

Though there has been some negative backlash on social media, most of the responses to Davis’ kind deeds have been very supportive, especially in his extremely inspiring “Bridging the Gap” facebook page.

Jessica Davis proudly supports her son’s willingness to help:

“I just believe in letting your kids follow their dreams and be what they want to be.  There’s going to be upset people because of what Markel’s doing. He said he wanted to do what was right and stand up for what he believes in. So I’m proud of him.”

Building on the great success and outpouring of support he received in serving his local police department, Davis was also moved to assist the Cleveland Police Department in the same way. 

He began asking for donations to feed Cleveland officers on Thursday, before Labor Day weekend.  His motivation for reaching out to Cleveland police came after learning about two consecutive tragedies. 

The first was the assassination of a police officer (along with a police informant) during an undercover drug sting. 

The second, coming a day after the shooting, was another Cleveland officer sadly taking his own life.  Losing two officers in a row, Davis was greatly moved to act, and immediately asked his mom to help him set up a GoFundMe page. 

This time hoping to purchase food that would travel better over the two hour ride to Cleveland, the teen requested $400.  He would use this money to buy subs, chips, vegetable trays, fruit trays, drinks, and cookies.

The overwhelming public support he received for his work in Columbus translated into great results for his fundraising campaign.  Donors more than covered his expenses, and are still donating.  His campaign donations have reached $2,302.

Davis happily reported on his page that the Cleveland trip was a success, and the he was able to feed two whole precincts in one day.

Wise and compassionate beyond his 17 years, Davis offered on his page, in response to some who seek to find a political angle to his volunteerism:

“I’ve had a lot of people ask me my political view. I personally don’t feel the need to discuss it for these reasons…

1. I’m not old enough to vote. So kind of like those that don’t vote, it really doesn’t matter.

2. It’s personal, when people go to the poll it’s enclosed for privacy, because, it’s no ones business, but your own.

3. It creates chaos and division which is exactly what the media wants and I refuse to be a pawn in their political games.

4. Same as 2.

5. Same as 4.

“Lastly, if I love you, I love you…. not your political stance. Vote for whoever you want, just love one another in the process.”

 

Young men like Markel Davis exemplify with action, the kind of unity this country needs.  He saw a void, and filled it with compassionate acts of service.  He saw a gap, and he bridged it with the same. 

If everyone in our country would take the same approach in filling voids and bridging gaps that they perceive, this nation would achieve its intended level of greatness.

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Here’s another story Law Enforcement Today brought you on people giving back to police by serving them meals.

 PORTLAND, OR – Back in July, after several weeks of increasingly violent and destructive protests in Portland, the federal government stepped in and deployed a large group of federal law enforcement officers to assist the local municipalities in helping to keep the peace on the streets and throughout the neighborhood. 

Of course, Mayor Ted Wheeler and Governor Kate Brown threw hissy fits and the feds were no longer able to assist police on the streets, but they remain in the area to protect the federal buildings. This, because rioters are still causing chaos on a nightly basis in the Oregon city and vandalizing businesses and government buildings.

These agents were pulled from all over the country and deployed to Portland in order to help curtail the increase of violence and the amount of destruction caused by rioters.

While watching the destruction of their city play out in person and on the news night after night, a small group of women, led by a police wife named Jane, felt a calling to help their community, but were not sure how they could be of service. 

food for federal officers portland oregon
Facebook photo

After speaking with several wives of some of the front line officers of Portland Police Bureau and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department, Jane discovered that the deployed federal officers were working upwards of three straight weeks, for 12-14 hours per day, with no days off. 

Not only were these officers working long days, with very little down time, they had no way of getting proper meals while they were deployed in order to sustain the energy needed to continue these long days. 

The officers were staying in local hotels, where due to COVID-19 regulations, breakfast was not being served, and according to sources, they were surviving on whatever grab-and-go items they could find or beef jerky to help sustain them, or, sadly, skipping meals altogether.

food for federal officers portland oregon
Screen shot from Facebook

When this group of women heard about the conditions these officers were having to endure to help keep their city safe, they realized the least they could do to show their appreciation was to provide them a hot, home cooked meal.

So, every night for two weeks, that is exactly what they did. 

food for federal officers portland oregon
Facebook photo

Unfortunately, due to the cost of the food, and no funding source, they have been unable to sustain the daily meals. However, a source close to the group of volunteers says they will continue to provide meals every Saturday until the last federal officer is no longer needed in their city.

Jane decided to start a group called Blue Plate Special Comfort Group, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the Saturday meals (or more if they can afford it).

They aren’t just stopping at food, however. They’re also coming up with practical ways to help keep the officers safe and comfortable during their stints in Portland.

For example, one of the admins of the group thought of cooling scarves for them and asked for anyone who sews to make that happen.

meals for federal officers
Screenshot from Facebook

What started out as a couple of women looking to give back to their community quickly grew to a group of six.  In their quest to feed the officers, the group of women sought out the use of a large kitchen to help prepare the food, as well as enlisted the help of the facilities manager of the Justice Center to allow them access to a secure space for the officers to feel safe while they eat.

In order to have the large meal ready in time for the dinner hour, the women all meet at the kitchen at 9 am to begin to cook.  Around 2:30, they load up five cars and caravan over to the Justice Center where they meet the facilities manager to set up for the evening meal and to provide a welcome and calm area, away from the chaos and disruption throughout the city.  

The women also attempt to utilize local farm to table items as much as possible as a way to help sustain the local growers, while providing nutritious, healthy and balanced meals.  Some of the menu items have included chicken noodle soup, corn bread, beef tips, London Broil and tri-tips, fresh fruit, green beans, rosemary potatoes and cheesecake parfaits for deserts. 

food for federal officers portland oregon
Screen shot from Facebook

The women have even organized a BBQ grill on site for any meat that needs to be grilled.  They also have a section of donated items from local churches such as snacks, some grab-and-go items, as well as some greeting cards that the local citizens have made to show their thanks and gratitude to the sacrifices these officers are making to keep their community safe. 

Jane told us that the cooking became a sort of therapy for her and several other volunteers. 

She said:

“It’s wonderful being together through this. We have become close family.”

The Bureau has begun requesting Jane’s soup for their officers as well, as it has become something special to the officers as they go through these challenging times. 

Jane said:

“I simmer it for many hours and put a lot of love into it. The officers have been saying they can taste the love.”

Jane also said that the group keeps a freezer full of homemade chicken soup and other goodies in order to be able to deliver things to officers injured during the riots and their families. They also keep their ears out for officers that are struggling through these times so they can bring them a comfort meal and a friendly face.

Jane is hopeful that reading about this group will encourage other wives and police supporters in other areas to do something similar for their officers, local or federal.

So far, to date, the women have served over 250 meals to the deployed officers.  They have set up a GoFundMe page to help offset the cost of the food and supplies. Please click on the link to donate to their cause.

In a time when it feels like everyone is against the police, it’s refreshing to see a group stepping up to support them.

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