Clearwater squatters may have moved out

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Their tent remains, but the couple living inside it are gone.

A Clearwater homeowner called 8 On Your Side when a homeless couple set up housekeeping in his back yard.

The homeowner is hoping his six-month ordeal is over. He’s been living in fear after the couple moved in, they wouldn’t leave.

At least until police told them they had to leave.

“I don’t know. I’m just trying everything I can,” said Laura Driscoll.

Down and out, broken and emotionally drained, Driscoll tells 8 On Your Side, moving into this tent was a last resort.

“I was doing good two years ago and then everything just happened all at once starting with the death of my daughter and everything’s kind of gone downhill from there,” Driscoll said.

Driscoll and a man the homeowner identifies as Bill Washington, set up a pup tent, and moved their worldly possessions into Forrest Malmin’s back yard on South Highland Avenue.

She claims Malmin had a verbal agreement to stay, he says, not true.

On Thursday, Clearwater Police gave the couple 24 hours to pack up and leave.

“I’m happy it’s being resolved. I just hope they find a place to stay. I do feel bad but I can’t live like this anymore,” Malmin said.

Homeless and almost broke, Driscoll isn’t sure what’s in her future.

“I’ve got about $800 saved. But I can’t find, ya know, a place that I can move in for $800. I have to be local so that my fiance can work,” she said.

It doesn’t appear the couple is moving. The tent remains, so does all their personal items seen on Wednesday.

They risk arrest if they don’t leave.

“I wish I had somewhere, somebody that could rent to me, just one room,” Driscoll said.

Clearwater police are working to find the couple some help and get them the services they need.         

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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