It was after several winters of sheltering the homeless men at night and learning they were increasingly stumbling around in the snow by day — sometimes sleeping out in it —that the plight of Jim and Gary came dramatically to Elizabeth Kelly’s attention. As their conditions deteriorated, Jim and Gary had been in and out of Pontiac’s main hospital, at that time called POH Medical Center. They first had their frozen toes thawed, next amputated one by one, followed by amputations of entire feet, and then ultimately came their pitiful deaths. Kelly, founder of a homeless shelter called HOPE Warming Center on Pontiac’s north side, had tried to help Jim and Gary, but she couldn’t. Suddenly, she realized why. “One of them cost the hospital $1.5 million in care. The other one, $1.2 million. And so I sat down with the hospital’s CEO and I said, ‘There’s a better way. Let’s work together on this. I think I have the answer.’
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Resource Detroit Free Press
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