Homeless woman receives help from a group in Gainesville

A North Central Florida homeless woman is currently off the streets and in a warm bed thanks to the help of a Gainesville woman and others.
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 7:39 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Rain, heat, mud, and ants — these are the conditions for many homeless people living in Gainesville.

But, for one homeless woman named Debbie, her conditions are improving thanks to a woman named Mindy Nickell and her mother Charlotte Nickell.

“I had a connection the moment I spoke to her,” said Nickell. “She is just a lost soul and I know she counts, we all count.”

Mindy said she’s helping Debbie get off the streets and currently has her in a hotel to for her clean up, eat and get healthy.

Now they’re cleaning up her spot — to bring her anything she left behind.

Mindy says she’s tried seeking help from all of the local homeless resources, but with no luck or direction, she turned to facebook to try and find a next step.

“It’s crazy I never thought people would care that much like maybe 10, 20 people not hundreds,” said Nickell.

An outpour of support came from strangers offering clothes, food, money for the hotel, even job opportunities to help Debbie get back on her feet. Many said they’ve met her themselves.

Jackie Bryant moved right down the street from Debbie’s spot just three weeks ago. She said she brings Debbie dinner every night when she walks her dog.

“I’m glad that somebody stepped up and you know helped her out because as does it mean that you’re a nobody or you don’t matter like it just means I’m going through something and I’m not sure where to go out or who to go to find it,” said Bryant.

As the three cleaned up Debbie’s area together, strangers stopped to help in any way they could.

“It’s about having compassion and empathy for others to where you’ll go out of your comfort zone, stop and talk to a stranger on the side road and get her up outside the road and tell her she matters, you are loved,” said Nickell.

While Debbie said she doesn’t feel comfortable in front of a camera, she told Mindy and Charlotte she is thankful for all their help.

If you’d like to help, you can email Mindy at

Copyright 2020 WCJB. All rights reserved.

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