Man spots old lady sleeping in car by her home, calls community to action when he realizes why

Theresa Hernandez of Phoenix, Arizona packed her home with so much junk and garbage that she was forced to live in her car.

“I’m going to be honest with you the inside, it reminds me of the show called Hoarders,” said her neighbor Justin Hernandez, who moved into the neighborhood about a month ago.

Justin said he was crushed to learn that Theresa, who is in her 70s, was living in her car. He met her one day while he was walking his dog.

They began to strike up conversations and that’s how he learned that she didn’t have any power, gas or water. So, he started bringing her water and food.

Source: YouCaring

“It tore my heart. It broke my heart,” he told FOX 10. “A 71-year-old woman sitting out there in 110-degree weather isn’t alright. I figure if this was my nana or my mom, I wouldn’t want her to live like this, so I had to do something to help her get back into her home.”

Justin enlisted the help of his neighbors and started a Facebook page called “Paying It Forward” to help Theresa out.

“I learned that Theresa is living in her car in her front yard,” neighbor Christine Rowland said. “Her house is not livable. She had a lot of trash, a lot of feces outside and inside the house, so we started cleaning the outside first.”

Paying It Forward
Source: Paying It Forward

Theresa told FOX 10 that she lost control of her home and all the dogs who live with her after her husband died several years ago.

“So my jalopy became my home,” she explained.

Even though the situation Theresa was in was of her own making, her neighbors showed compassion and empathy and decided they would use their time to help what they say is a very special woman.

“She’s just amazing,” said Justin. “She’s just so upbeat we can’t help but not be here and help her out… do something we have to do something for her.”

FOX 10 Screenshot
Source: FOX 10 Screenshot

Theresa said she is extremely grateful for the loving care that her neighbors have shown her.

“I don’t know what I would do without people like them… what the world would do without people like them,” Theresa said. “There are very few.”

Justin says he and his neighbors will have a long road ahead of them and are asking anyone with construction skills to pitch in.

“I don’t believe were going to have it done right away, it’s going to be a process,” he said. “It’s going to be a long process, but at least we all got together and everyone’s trying to help Miss Theresa get back into her home.”

Paying It Forward
Source: Paying It Forward

Since the story made the news, plumbers and professional house cleaners have been offering their serves to Theresa.

You can find the Facebook page here where you can get in touch with Justin and find out the weekend events they have planned to help Theresa. They also set up a YouCaring page which you can find here.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: FOX 10

D.G. Sciortino
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at

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