Formerly Homeless James Brady Lost Aid For Not Reporting $850 He Found

HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Bergen County United Way has rallied support and special donations for a formerly homeless Good Samaritan from Hackensack, N.J. who was stripped of his benefits.

James Brady found $850 on a Hackensack sidewalk last April and turned it in to police. Brady was awarded the money six months later, when no one contacted police during the required six-month waiting period.

Afterward, he was denied General Assistance and Medicaid benefits by the Hackensack Human Services Department through Dec. 31 because he failed to report the $850 as new income he received.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported Sunday evening, the Bergen County United Way has jumped into action after hearing of Brady’s plight.

“Our call was to make sure that, of course, he’s not punished for this, and that he doesn’t lose any of the progress that he’s made,” said Bergen County United Way President Tom Toronto.

The organization now has a special donation page on its site.

“Through our Compassion Fund, Bergen County’s United Way is accepting donations to help James Brady. Your donation, in its entirety, will be used to insure that he has the most basic of necessities – food, housing, and medication or any other needs he may have,” the page says.

Toronto said help has been pouring in along with inspirational messages, such as, “Hang in there, I’ve been there, stay true.”

In just the first several hours, donations from around the world have topped $1,000. But they won’t just give Brady cash, so as not to get him in trouble again.

The director of human services in Hackensack told the newspaper the department just following the rules by cutting off his aid.

Brady, who was homeless when he found the money, has since found housing. He was featured in news reports nationwide for turning in the money, despite his own financial struggles.

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