PHOENIX - A woman was recently living in her car outside of her home until a neighbor stepped up and rallied friends and strangers to help.
Why would a woman in her 70's live in her car parked in the front yard of her house?
It is because this is what Theresa Hernandez's house looks like inside.
“I’m going to be honest with you the inside, it reminds me of the show called hoarders.
“I learned that Theresa is living in her car in her front yard. Her house is not livable. She had a lot of trash, a lot of feces outside and inside the house, so we started cleaning the outside first.”
This weekend, people Theresa Hernandez doesn't know are showing up at her home to continue working on clearing her yard, and will soon start working on her house, which has no running water or electricity.
Neighbor Justin Hernandez is leading the charge. He just moved into the neighborhood a month ago, and couldn't believe the lady across the street was living in her car.
“It tore my heart. It broke my heart. A 71-year-old woman sitting out here in 110 degree weather isn’t alright. I figure if this was my nana or my mom, I wouldn’t want her to live like this, so I had to do something to help get her back into her home.”
Justin launched a Facebook page called ‘Paying it Forward’ and dozens signed up to help, like Christine Rowland. She says Theresa is a special person.
“She’s just amazing. She’s just so upbeat we can’t help but not be here and help her out…do something we have to do something for her.”
Though reluctant to be interviewed at first, Theresa eventually gave in.
“If the camera breaks, don’t blame me.”
Theresa says after her husband died several years ago, she couldn't keep the house up for her and her dogs.
“So my jalopy became my home.”
“I don’t know what I would do without people like them…what the world would do without people like them. There are very few.”
“I don’t believe were going to have it done right away, it’s going to be a process. It’s going to be a long process, but at least we all got together and everyone’s trying to help Miss Theresa get back into her home.”
If you'd like to help or have any construction skills, they could sure use your help.
Justin has a public Facebook page called ‘Paying it Forward’ where you can contact him and hear about the weekend events they have planned to help Theresa.
They also have a You Caring webpage set up called ‘Help Betty Theresa get back in her Home.’