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‘Homeless’ Detroit Man Carves Slice Of American Dream

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Tom Bell spends his days cleaning up an old railroad property at the foot of West Jefferson and Fort Street. He calls the one-room building his home. He claims that the property owners have given him permission to live there. (WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

Tom Bell spends his days cleaning up an old railroad property at the foot of West Jefferson and Fort Street. He calls the one-room building his home. He claims that the property owners have given him permission to live there. (WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - A homeless man in Detroit is making the most of his situation, carving out his own tiny slice of the American dream.

Tom Bell spends his days cleaning up an old railroad property at the foot of West Jefferson and Fort Street. Bell likes to relax by gazing over the Detroit River from outside of a one-room building he calls home — one that once stood vacant.

“I call this home, most definitely,” Bell told WWJ’s Mike Campbell.

“I wash up in there, too. So if it’s called bathroom, it’s called bathroom. If it’s called kitchen, it’s called kitchen. If it’s called bedroom, it’s called bedroom. I mean, I could go on, but it’s conveniently right there and can be taken care of, you know, rather neatly,” he said.

GALLERY: See Tom Bell’s Slice Of The American Dream

Now, that might not sound like much to some people, but Bell’s luck hasn’t always been so great. He said he’s been homeless for as long as he can remember and living on the streets before coming across his diamond in the rough.

Bell said he stumbled upon the “house” while searching for shelter one night. After staying there a couple of nights, he saw opportunity for something greater.

Bell began cleaning up and eventually hopes the location can become a place for the homeless. He said the railroad owners know that he’s there and are allowing him to stay there. It’s unclear, however, if the city is aware of Bell’s camp.

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