The Hayward mother of a homeless man who died Sunday says his tragic death points to the lack of services for the homeless.
The family of 50-year-old Joe White says he had tried to get off the streets and didn’t deserve to die out in the cold.
“I would let him come home and stay with me, but then he would only stay awhile because he didn’t want to be a burden on me, “said Mary Archuleta about her son.
Archuleta says her son worked odd jobs and turned to various social agencies for help but was given the runaround.
The family says they don’t want White to die a nameless, homeless man.
“He deserves to be recognized for the person he was. He wasn’t just homeless, he was my brother,” said White’s sister Theresa Long.
Relatives say White was a loving father and a doting grandfather.
Despite his plight, they say he refused to take advantage of his family.
His mother said White would visit her regularly.
“When he would come here, he wouldn’t eat that much because he didn’t like eating our food,” she said.
Archuleta tells KTVU health problems and associating with people of questionable character contributed to her son’s downward spiral.
His sister says she met with him just Friday to give him a new coat to ward off the cold.
“I helped him put it on because his hands were kind of swollen, I helped him zipper it,” said Long.
On Tuesday night, remnants of yellow crime scene tape still marked where White was found just two days after receiving his new coat.
White was found lying on the walkway near the Safeway on Foothill Boulevard and was rushed to the hospital where he later died. White’s family tells KTVU they were told several men had beaten White, stolen his new coat and left him in the cold.
“It’s an extraordinarily difficult issue,” said Sean Reinhart, Hayward’s Director of Library and Community Services as he spoke about the city’s homeless population.
Reinhart oversees the city’s funding of 20 nonprofits that proved services to the homeless.
While the community has family shelters, they do not have homeless shelters specifically for men or women.
Reinhart says the city is currently assessing exactly what services are available to come up with a long term comprehensive plan.
“We’re really doubling down our efforts going forward,” said Reinhart.
But White’s mother insists that the system failed her son.
“I wonder what it must of felt like for him to be that cold, you know,” she said.
The general manager of Lone Tree Cemetery is helping the family with funeral expenses to give Joe White a proper resting place.