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Who is Kenny Kenny? Advocates trying to figure out legal ID of hospitalized homeless man.


SEATTLE (KOMO) - Who is Kenny? That’s what his new legal guardian and the King County Superior Court want to know.

For decades, he’s roamed roughly a 10-square block area in Seattle’s University District, staying in the shadows, wearing garbage bags to cover his clothes, shadowboxing and talking to himself.

A court Guardian ad Litem - who investigates guardianship cases for the court - cannot find any positive identification for Kenny.

“Kenny is not unlike our many undocumented men, women and children that are in this country,” said Anura Shah, Guardian ad Litem and founder of Beyond Force. “It’s like Kenny doesn't even exist.”

When asked, he says his first name is Kenny, and his last name is Kenny.

He says his birthday is February 23, 1970, but he looks closer to 78 than 48.

Shah wasn’t able to find a Social Security number, address or next of kin for Kenny. And Kenny hasn’t been in trouble with police, but they are aware of him.

Shah found nothing identifiable that can be used legally.

“This is where Kenny would spend a majority of his time,” said David Sienkiewicz, pointing to the stoop of the University Christian Church.

He said he’s talked to Kenny many times over the years, and they’ve shared coffee and cigars.

The stoop is also the entrance to the Cooperative Children’s Center that Sienkiewicz oversees.

He noticed a change in Kenny during the latter part of last year.

“He was not leaving the stoop - he was more sedentary, there was less upkeep, white hands,” said Sienkiewicz.

The staff of the church called 911.

Kenny was in bad shape.

He had severe frostbite on his feet and his fingers.

Doctors at the University of Washington Medical Center amputated his feet and some of his fingertips.

A hospital spokesperson said Kenny is now in satisfactory shape in an acute care ward.

But, that’s where he will stay until he is positively identified.

“Without an identity I can't do anything,” said Channa Copeland, who became his legal guardian in a court order on Friday.

“I can’t get him Medicaid, I can't give him long term care, I can't get him out of the hospital, he's stuck here until I’m able to identify who he is and get benefits and services turned out,” said Copeland.

The founder of Northstar Connections, an advocate for elderly care for vulnerable adults, Copeland said she has clients like Kenny, but not in a situation where nobody knows their real name.

She said Kenny represents a shortcoming in the current system that provides care for indigent homeless people.

In order for Medicaid to pay for his hospital stay and long-term care that he now needs, Copeland needs a name, birth date and Social Security number. Without it, charity will have to provide for his care.

“He can't be released back the street, he will die,” said Copeland.

If you know the identity of Kenny, you are asked to contact NorthstarConnections.org.

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