David Saks: National Officials Visit Once-Homeless Man

David Saks - Real Estate Broker - The Real Estate Mart of Tennessee, Inc. - 4040 North Watkins-Suite #4 - Memphis, Tennessee 38127 - Phone (901) 357-4663

National Officials Visit Once-Homeless Man


News from HUD

National Officials Visit Once-Homeless Man In Philly 

Philly News , Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer


Against the odds, Winfred Surrency, former Marine and a heroin addict, survived 20 years living inside appliance boxes or on grates on Philadelphia's streets.

Now, with the help of local agencies and the federal government, Surrency, a battered 59, lives in a single-bedroom apartment in East Oak Lane, grateful for walls, furniture, and life.

Sweet-natured but tough, he once foiled a robbery at a Center City Starbucks, and now grateful baristas supply him with free one-pound bags of Dark Sumatra and other coffees every week.

After he had a cup or two Monday, Surrency, who usually doesn't get many visitors, was called on by a mayor, a congressman, and a cabinet member. They were there to congratulate him for getting off the streets, and to anoint him as a symbol of hope for other homeless veterans.
"You're an ambassador for us," Mayor Nutter told Surrency.

"I like the job title," Surrency said, smiling. "I know I'm living proof the program works."

Surrency was referring to the program that supplies homeless veterans with housing-assistance vouchers, the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan was in town - and Surrency's apartment - to announce a $349,362 federal grant to the Philadelphia Housing Authority. PHA and the VA Medical Center in Philadelphia will provide the assistance. Nonprofit agencies such as Pathways to Housing PA, which helped Surrency find his $800-a-month apartment and furnish it, will aid the veterans in their day-to-day lives.

The money is part of a $60 million award to local public housing agencies throughout the country. The grants offer permanent supportive housing to homeless veterans whose backgrounds are vetted for serious crimes.

Donovan, who earlier in the day addressed an international homelessness conference at the University of Pennsylvania, delivered President Obama's message that the administration is working to end veterans' homelessness by 2015. Obama has set a goal of ending homelessness among children, young people, and families by 2020.

Somewhat overwhelmed by the attention from his visitors, Surrency quietly answered questions about his difficult life, which he said included having his neck broken by an assailant and getting shot in the feet while he slept in a box in Center City.

"What'd it feel like the first day you walked into this apartment?" Donovan asked.

"I got on my knees and prayed," said Surrency, who was born in Camden and served two years stateside in the Marines after the Vietnam War ended.

"What's your story going to be five years from now?" asked U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa).

"Success," said Surrency, who once trained as a cook. "Staying sober and going back to cooking."

As his guests, including PHA president and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah, listened, Surrency talked about the "awesome meanness" of Camden, where someone murdered his sister by poisoning her.

With so much lost from his childhood, Surrency was able to retain his trumpet, held for him by a relative during the endlessly turbulent years of Surrency's life.

He's a fan of John Coltrane, whose CDs are sent to him by a former Starbucks employee at the store at 13th and Chestnut Streets, where Surrency stopped the robbery.

About a year or so ago, Surrency said, his streetwise eyes noticed that two men had been inside the Starbucks men's room for a long time. The young manager was closing up when Surrency, who correctly guessed that the two men in the bathroom were thieves, told her to call the police. She did, and the two men were arrested.

Now, Surrency listens to Coltrane on the CD player sent along by the former Starbucks employee.

"I'm going to say hi to the president for you," Donovan told Surrency. He beamed.

"My future's brighter," Surrency said. "I live like a human being again. And I'll take this any day. It's amazing I'm still living.

"I'm going to stay around and listen to Coltrane. I'll be all right."

   source: Philly News , Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer & HUD

David Saks

Time&Temp Memphis

Legal Disclaimer
Please be advised that:

 The information and notices contained in this blog are intended to summarize recent developments and news. The posts are presented as general research and information. These posts are not intended, nor should be regarded, as legal advice. Some blog posts concern allegations made in civil lawsuits and in criminal indictments in United States Courts. All persons are presumed innocent until convicted of a crime and proven guilty. Readers who have particular questions or who believe that they need legal counsel should seek the advice of a qualified attorney. It is neither the editor's or author's intention to create a confidential relationship or any broker-client relationship via communication from this site at any time. Please consult with your state real estate board if questions & answers in the education section conflict with the laws of your region or if you need clarification regarding their applicability or how they may govern the services that you provide.

By entering this web site, you understand the following:
When you select a link to an outside Web site, you are subject to the privacy, copyright, security, and information quality policies of that Web site. David Saks:
1.DOES NOT control or guarantee the accuracy, legality, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information contained on a linked Web site;
2.DOES NOT endorse linked Web sites, the views they express, or the products/services they offer unless linked web sites, the views they express, or the products/services they offer endorse or support David Saks in accordance with the standards of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission and the Federal Government's laws regarding commerce and the application, solicitation and transmission of internet-related concerns, commerce or social networking;
3.CANNOT authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites;
4.IS NOT responsible for transmissions users receive from linked Web sites;
5. That DavidSaks.Com is biographical & real estate related. Some links within will leave this site.
6. http://activerain.com/profile/davidsaks is internet-compliant & abides by the rules & regulations of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission, Eve Maxwell, Executive Director.
7. Unless indicated otherwise, ActiveRain does offer listings, or IDX and is provided for licensed salespersons, brokers, buyers & sellers of real property as a community & professional service.
8. David Saks is a retired / licensed real estate broker in the State of Tennessee, license #290452, and an independent contractor.
9. Information is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed, at any realty link or document connected to the World Wide Web & viewable by anyone connected to the internet who has a web browser.
10. Brokers, buyers, sellers, agents & anyone should independently verify any information prior to submitting any offer to purchase goods & services from any link.
11. Please Visit The American Real Estate Alliance or Memphis.8k.Com for additional information regarding property issues for real estate professionals and consumers.


Photos © & Licensed by Nova Development

All Content Protected © 
Before you even think about
committing a real estate crime
click this red button.
Real Estate Crimes

© All Rights Reserved.





"Information generated by the Department of Justice is in the public domain and may be reproduced, published or otherwise used without the Department’s permission. Citation to the Department of Justice as the source of the information is appreciated, as appropriate."

Department of Justice Legal Policies


  Real Estate Crimes


Click "HERE" For Today's Question



TheListen Now!

David Saks Show

Saturday Nite

9pm-12am Central

University of Memphis



America's Hobby

Click Elvis

Mr.Saks' participation in ActiveRain ended April 13, 2015.

His blog archives will remain online.

May God bless you.

Comment balloon 2 commentsDavid Saks • June 06 2013 07:19AM


David  It is nice to see that this can be done ..There are so many hopeless cases.  They closed one of the largest mental hospital in the the city many many years ago and that is when some of these  homeless took to the streets . It is very sad

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) about 7 years ago

I was visiting with a good friend of mine recently, a local child psychologist, and chatting about the same issues Hannah. The mental health facilities get little support or revenue from the state. Many are in the streets, in prisons and neglected. The housing crisis is responsible for much of the misery.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) about 7 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments