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Former homeless vet helps women in crisis get off the streets

Kyra
Kyra Cleo Hug
Kyra Cleo Hood
Cleo Phone
Kyra Hug
Posted at 12:00 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 21:17:56-04

APACHE JUNCTION, AZ — A homeless woman in crisis called into our newsroom in panic.

Kyra King was scared the heat was going to kill her and needed help fast.

ABC15 immediately connected her to Cleo Lewis, a former homeless veteran who lived on the streets for 10 years.

We first introduced you to Cleo in Part 3 of our Priced Out Series.

He’s since started a nonprofit called Cleo N. Lewis Inc, an outreach program to help the homeless find a permanent home.

Cleo tells us he definitely knows what it’s like to be out in triple-digit heat, without a home.

“You know how the sun is. There you go,” Cleo said to a man who was living in a car, while handing him water.

“Thank you,” the man answered.

Cleo was trying to connect those in need to resources, while he waited patiently to talk to Kyra.

Our crew waited, too.

“Are you looking forward to meeting her?” ABC15 asked.

“Absolutely,” Cleo answered with a smile.

Kyra approached Cleo and hugged. Both equally as excited to meet each other.

Kyra Cleo Hug

“It’s been so hard. It’s been so hard,” Kyra said in tears.

Kyra is 62 years old, disabled, and unable to afford rent on a fixed income. “Oh my god, I weigh 77 pounds. That’s what the heat will do to you,” she said while soaking the back of her neck with a cool bag.

Kyra has been living in her car outside of a Walmart in Apache Junction for weeks.

“I’m broke. I gotta get a new battery,” said Kyra. Her car is not able to run. Cleo, asking her to pop the hood so he could take a look.

Kyra Cleo Hood

“It's indeed the water pump,” he said almost immediately.

Kyra tells us one day she overheated inside the only home she has, her car.

It was a day where triple digits came before noon. “I thought I was going to die,” she said in tears.

That’s when she called us.

“And y’all got him to me!” she exclaimed.

Cleo made some calls and got Kyra water and other essentials.

“My first priority is to get you from out here to inside somewhere,” Cleo told her.

“I’m trying to remain positive, but I don’t have a home,” said Kyra.

Cleo Phone

Cleo kept making calls, and it was only a matter of time before Kyra’s phone started ringing.

In fact, it rang in the middle of our interview with her. “I’m sorry, I got a call. Can I stop?” she asked our crew.

She repeated an address she needed to get to, and Cleo was quick to jot it down.

“And he’s been a blessing,” she said while looking at Cleo.

Our cameras were rolling when Kyra got word she was going to a shelter.

“I’m getting out of here!” said Kyra.

“Come here. We’re so happy for you.”

Kyra Hug

Cleo helped change her life. A complete stranger to him when the day started.

Now, a newfound friend.

“Well, she took the first step. It’s our job to connect,” said Cleo.

“And how does it make you feel to know he’s got your back?” ABC15 asked Kyra.

“It feels good,” she answered, as the tears rolled down her face.

It’s a new beginning Kyra says will forever change her life.

“You are the reason we do what I do,” Cleo told Kyra.

“Oh…thank you darling,” responded Kyra, while going in for a hug.

“No thank you. You took the first big step,” said Cleo.

And so, what’s next?

They both simply answered with a smile, “Happy Days!”