Neighbors seek help for Oklahoma woman found living on her porch

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OKLAHOMA -- For about a month now, neighbors on a quiet street have noticed something out of the ordinary; a woman in their neighborhood had been sleeping outside.

She had an oxygen tank, and was surrounded by piles of what looked like trash.

"Nobody should have to live like that. It was getting hot, it was raining. She wasn't even going inside to use the bathroom," neighbor Tyson Taussig said. "So it just really made me sick, and I felt like we had to do something."

So out of concern, Taussig called Adult Protective Services to check on the woman. They came more than once, but each time, she refused help.

"We have mental assessment tests that we give the person...if they pass those, then if they say 'leave me alone,' we have to respect that," DHS spokesman Mark Beutler said.

Even so, neighbors wanted the woman to be taken care of, so they reached out to NewsChannel 4.

We got in touch with Sunbeam Family Services, a non-profit that can assist only if the person in question asks for help.

"If it's different from what our living situation ideally would be, still, it is their choice to live in that situation," Beutler said.

After some coaxing, the woman living on her porch finally agreed to take the help.

"We connect her to resources. Whether it's house cleaning or meals... any of the basics...hooking her up to electricity if that's a need," Erin Engleke, with Sunbeam Family Services, said.

Much to the relief of neighbors.

"It's great that there's somebody out there who can help, that there's different services out there, and that people get in contact with them so that they can get help too," Taussig said.

If you know an elder in need, you should first contact Adult Protective Services. Groups like Sunbeam Family Services work hand-in-hand with the state to evaluate each individual case and make sure basic needs are met.


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