Woman Helps Homeless After Having Been Homeless
LifeAspire Staff 6/7/2017
Homelessness is a problem faced by the most developed countries around the world, and Melbourne, Australia is no different! Sources claim that 49 out of every 10,000 people is homeless in Australia. For a city that is a coveted tourist destination down under, Melbourne too has its neighborhoods where the charm and beauty quickly fade into the sad realities of people who don't have much to live on.
Jessica Pearce recently came face to face with this homeless problem while staying in a hotel on Flinder's street of Melbourne during the Christmas holiday. Jessica was completely taken aback with the streets that seemed to be lined with people on mattresses and blankets because they had no homes to go to, often referred to ask rough sleepers. Her immediate thought was to get out there and hand out some money and get to know their personal stories.
While it might not be difficult to imagine someone being moved by such a sight, in Jessica's case, the impact was such that it made her think back to her own almost 16 year old self that was kicked out from her parents home and out on the streets.
All those memories from long ago, came flooding back as she found out that the people on the street, weren't all druggies or alcoholics as many would imagine, but real people with a streak of bad luck and no support.
Jessica remembers talking to one such man who had lost custody to his kids due to his homelessness.
In conversing with him, Jessica found out that:
"He had a two- and a three-year-old who were staying with his ex-partner and he wasn't going to have access to them because he didn't have somewhere to live. I wanted him to have stable accommodation for the children."
For this person, Jessica eventually ended up paying for a month long stay at a motel so that he could at least see his children in the time it took to figure out his next steps. But, that was just one person and there seemed to be so many more that needed help.
Having raised four kids of her own and paid off her mortgage recently, Jessica's was looking forward to purchasing a new home in a swanky part of Melbourne. That is, until this Christmas break, when she noticed just how lucky she had been in life.
So, she changed her plans and decided to purchase four homes in the Lara, Corio, Morwell, and Moe neighborhoods of Melbourne and use them as a way to help the homeless people in transition. According to Jessica:
"The price that I would have paid for one house in town was the same as buying four in cheaper areas."
Jessica also set up a non-profit organization called Helping Homeless and started spreading the word of her housing availability with youth organization and other governmental agencies to help families, youth, and any other people who might be in need of a transitional home.
In speaking about the home she purchased in Lara, which will be used for families who can stay there for 3-months at a time before moving on to a permanent home, Jessica said:
"It's quite a lovely house, it's very much like you would imagine a grandmother's house to be."
For Jessica, all of this is quite a sudden change to what she thought would be her future plans. A shock that turned into a concern has now become her life calling! But she is too humble to admit that she is doing anything out of the ordinary:
"I've probably got it better than most people."
While Jessica's efforts alone won't make the homeless problem in Melbourne disappear, at least she can rest easy knowing that she is making a difference. It is a lesson we can all take back to our own communities and its challenges.
Sources: ABC, Homelessness Australia, ABC, Facebook/Helping Homeless, FB Image Source: Facebook/Helping Homeless, Image Source: Flickr/born1945