PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Living on the street, in the extreme heat, can be dangerous, especially if you're a homeless senior with no money and no place to go.
"There's nothing that breaks my heart more than to have a 75-year-old person come to me and tell me they spent last night on a park bench and got beat up," said Mary Patten, a nurse at the Justa Center, which takes in homeless seniors.
The number of homeless seniors across the Valley is on the rise, but Micole Felder has made it his mission to find "down and out" seniors a job, medical assistance and a place to live.
"I do take this very personally," said Felder. "I would hate for my mother to be in this situation. These are grandparents, mothers and fathers. Whatever I can do to help, I help out with."
A few years back, Felder opened the Justa Center in downtown Phoenix.
It's the first homeless center in the country devoted entirely to seniors 55 and older.
Seniors can get out of the heat, have a good meal, then work on getting their lives back on track.
"Some of our clients have master's degrees," said Felder. "Some of it is due to the cost of living, and there's no low-income housing anymore. It's hard to find a job at 55 years of age. That's the reality of it. It's very hard."
Patten has seen first hand how Felder's work has paid off, helping countless seniors get off the street.
She reached out to CBS 5 to Pay It Forward to Felder and give him $500.
A CBS 5 news camera was rolling for the big surprise.
"I reached out to Channel 5 because of all the things that you do for the Justa Center," said Patten. "You are such a strong man that some of us go to for strength and guidance. I contacted Channel 5 and AZ Family and this $500 is for you."
Patten is hoping that by honoring Felder, it will create more awareness about what he's doing, and others will step up to help seniors in need.
For more information, visit the Justa Center's website.