Homeless hero lands apartment - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Homeless hero lands apartment


MADISON (WKOW) -- A homeless Madison man who helped stop a woman from jumping to her death at the Monona Terrace Convention Center has found an apartment, thanks to  networking that took place after he gained notoriety for his heroics.

48-year old James Lofton moved into a unit in a complex on Madison's east side, his first permanent home in three years.

On June 7, Lofton was passing time at Monona Terrace when he heard city worker Sadie Villegas scream for help, as Villegas tried to stop a woman from jumping off a railing to a steep fall below. Lofton joined Villegas in the life-saving effort, restraining and consoling the woman until emergency workers arrived.

Villegas and other staff members at Madison's Community Development Authority learned of Lofton's homelessness as a result of the rescue.

They also learned Lofton served in the Army for ten years. CDA official Tom Conrad tells 27 News it was determined Lofton qualified for the Veterans Affairs Supporting Housing (VASH) program. The program provides housing vouchers to cover the entirety or portions of rent costs, and Conrad says it was expanded just before Lofton's application.

"The city received an additional twenty-five vouchers, so we were able to boost the number of folks we could help. He's one of those folks now," Conrad says.

Lofton tells 27 News he's grateful for the help he's received. Lofton says people in the homeless community are often unaware of opportunities for help, and are sometimes difficult to reach with the information.

"One way to get the word out would be flyers, flyers up at store fronts," Lofton says.

Lofton says having a home base has helped in his job search. He says he's a candidate to join the custodial staff at UW-Madison.

In addition to receiving city recognition for his heroism, and gaining permanent housing, Lofton says his June experience played a role in cementing his place in the community.  "Got me a whole bunch of new friends."



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