AP NEWS

Homeless man who died was close to receiving housing help

January 25, 2020 GMT

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A homeless man who was found dead under a northern Indiana bridge was near the top of the list to receive permanent government-funded housing or a voucher to rent a private apartment or house, an advocate for the homeless said.

The St. Joseph County Coroner’s office has ruled that Darrell Bradberry, 57, died from dysrhythmia, or an abnormal heart rhythm, caused by hypothermia, the South Bend Tribune reported.

“It’s concerning. It’s frustrating. It’s sad, tragic,” said Brendan Devitt, a project manager at the Center for Homeless in South Bend.

Bradberry’s brother and sister-in-law, James and Martha Bradberry, said they would get in their car and look for Darrell when he started living on the streets 10 years ago.

“In retrospect, I wish there hadn’t been a wall built, that he could have called,” James Bradberry said Wednesday. “But there was a wall built. I built a wall, I’m ashamed to say. How sad somebody can’t call when they’re freezing and say, ‘Help me.’”

Bradberry was the second homeless man to die in South Bend due to the cold weather in less than a month. Anthony Young, 44, died of hypothermia in December.

Workers and volunteers at South Bend’s homeless shelters said they knew Bradberry, and that he was a regular at the night-time Weather Amnesty program. Staff members at Our Lady of the Road, which provides shelter for the homeless during the day, said they believe they saw him briefly on Saturday, the day he was found dead.

“He was one of the nicest men you’d ever meet,” said Lisa Loww, a volunteer who works with the homeless. “He was one of our sweetest older homeless gentleman that we’ve had.”

Martha Bradberry said her brother-in-law’s death has forced her to confront the problem of homelessness, and she plans to do what she can to help.

“I carry this guilt,” Martha said. “I mean, what could I have done for Darrell? What could I do for the homeless? How can I help? What can I do?”