A homeless man who has spent the past two years living in a treehouse has a new, terrestrial home just in the nick of time, thanks to neighbors.
David "Squirrelman" Csaky, a self-taught carpenter, learned Tuesday that neighbors had found an aging recreational vehicle for him to occupy.
"I'm overwhelmed," Csaky said. "I started crying when they told me."
For two years, Csaky, 52, has lived about 30 feet above the ground in a 300-square-foot self-made platform, accessible by a ladder counterweighted with sandbags on pulleys on city land.
Csaky outfitted the treehouse with a tent, wood stove, three chairs, shelves and a counter with an unplumbed sink. His pets include Lucky, a rat; Rainbow, a ferret; and Tilt, a squirrel.
He was lately threatened with eviction because the treehouse is a health and safety concern.
Brandon Ferrante, 28, and Maria Bolander, 27, who befriended him after watching the treehouse take shape, found an aging 22-foot RV online after they learned of Csaky's situation.
"It broke our hearts," Ferrante said. "He's taken care of the neighborhood. We couldn't sleep at night. We decided to make it happen."
They and their landlords, Janet Yoder and husband Robby Rudine, agreed to buy the rig for $500 after the owner offered a special "Squirrelman" discount.
"David's a unique character but a good neighbor," Yoder said.
After delivering the RV Tuesday evening, owner Timothy Custer decided instead to sell it to Csaky for a penny.
"It's Dave's new house," Custer said.
To make the house a home, Ferrante said, the task is now to find a permanent parking place.
"We don't want to see it get towed," he said.
Csaky, who got his nickname for his ability to tame squirrel, said he was amazed at the public attention, including radio television and radio interviews and talk show appearances.
"This is the beginning of a new life," he said.