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5/1/2022 - Riviera Police Help Homeless Woman With Infant & Toddler

RIVIERA BEACH, FL. (May 1, 2022) – Big hearted Riviera Beach Police Officers went beyond the call of duty to buy diapers and food for a woman and her children who are currently homeless, giving the family, hope, hospitality and a full belly for her toddler.

Officers on the evening of April 27 responded to a call from a Department of Children and Families (DCF) social worker about a young mother with a two-month-old and a three-year-old who was sleeping in various areas of the City. Officers on the Homeless Task Force, who weren’t dispatched, decided to scour the City and eventually found the family outside of Wells Recreation Center.

The stranded mother said her son had eaten only a bag of chips and juice box all day and depleted her lone supply of diapers. Officers Jennifer Jones and Ramiro Pena immediately sprung into action to aid the mother in her time of need.Officer Jones with Infant

Pena bought diapers and a meal for the young boy while Jones kept the youngster entertained by giving him a giant sticker book from her patrol car and played running contests and games until the food and supplies arrived. The toddler scarfed down his meal from McDonalds, bringing a smile to the officers’ faces.

The children had no clothes, so Jones and Pena noted their sizes and will be obtaining the necessities. The woman has been homeless for three years, one of which has been spent in the City, she told officers.

“The noble acts of our officers to help a homeless family in need is the epitome of compassion our Department has for our homeless population and it pulls at my heart strings,” Chief Joshua Lewis said. “This is what our Homeless Task Force is all about; helping individuals and families find a safe roof over their heads and assist with our partners to lead them on the path of stability.”

DCF took the two children into custody and placed them in a safe, warm home where they will stay for now. The mother had an immediate, emergency hearing the following day to determine next steps and how the Riviera Beach Police Department and DCF can all assist her, get her back on her feet and reunite her with her children. The Riviera Beach Police Department was able to provide the DCF worker with both an infant car seat and a toddler car seat to transport both of the children. Officer Jones drove the mother to her hearing at the courthouse in West Palm Beach the following day.

In the meantime, the woman has been reunited with her own mother, who is seeking temporary custody so the family could be reunited. The family has a home visit on Monday, May 2 and the mother is on the waiting list for an apartment in the newly remodeled Azure Estates. Police officers will also deliver the necessities on Monday, too.

“This was a team effort and I could not be prouder of my zone partners,” Jones said.
“DCF was so thankful that we went above and beyond to find this family when we weren’t even dispatched.”

“We changed three lives forever and there is nothing more humbling and joyful than that,” Jones added

The Riviera Beach Police Department has taken the initiative to address homelessness by creating a compassionate Homeless Task Force. The Department understands that being homeless is not always a choice. The old approach of simply writing them tickets or arresting them was a poor substitute for meaningful action. The Department has partnered with numerous organizations which provide services for the homeless, working on comprehensive means to address their issues.

Nicole Rodriguez
Public Information Officer
C: 561-281-3422
O: 561-812-6605