When you grow up with so much privilege, and are surrounded by people within the same or similar social class as you, it can be easy to take things for granted. We get so stressed out and consumed by our daily lives that we often forget to express gratitude for the little things in life. We take so much for granted, especially the smaller things that create the foundations of our lives: the food on our tables, the beds we sleep in, the people we surround ourselves with, and the list goes on. It’s ironic that many of us even refer to these things as “small,” because they could literally change someone’s entire world.
Can you imagine not living in a home, never experiencing the comfort of your own bed, or being stripped of enjoying your own living space? Well, the sad reality is that over a billion people lack adequate housing. While we’re deciding whether or not to lay down carpet or hardwood on our floors, millions of people are struggling without a place to call home. This sobering fact can really put things into perspective.
One woman was so moved by the sight of Melbourne’s homeless, she was inspired to purchase houses for them, changing their lives forever. Instead of her original plan to purchase one house as an investment, Jessica Pearce bought four properties in hopes of providing accommodation for people, and especially families, without homes.
How One Woman Is Keeping Many People Off the Streets
While staying in a hotel in Melbourne, Jessica witnessed firsthand just how many people are living on the streets of the city.
“I guess we felt shocked and I suppose a bit guilty — we didn’t realise how bad the housing situation in Melbourne was,” Jessica explained.
“The streets were lined with people sleeping on mattresses or on the ground.”
“I guess it just touched me and I thought that maybe there was something that we could do.”
Inspired to take action, Jessica and her partner walked around the streets for two nights giving homeless people $20 and $50 bills. As they handed out the bills, they learned more about the homeless people’s lives and how they came to be homeless in the first place, which was when they met one man who was separated from his family because of his living situation.
“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,” Pearce said.
Touched by his story, Pearce and her partner invited the homeless man to stay in their hotel for a couple nights, and then eventually paid for their new friend to stay in a motel for a while.
“I wanted him to have stable accommodation for the children.”
But, Pearce wanted to do more. She was already planning to purchase an “investment property,” but she realized that if she looked for houses in cheaper areas than she had originally planned, she could afford to purchase four houses as opposed to just one.
Pearce bought four houses in four different areas, all of which she plans to offer as housing for homeless people. The house in Lara will offer short-term accommodation for families with children who are “on a waitlist for housing.” The house in Corio will provide housing for homeless youth or young adults in school or in an apprenticeship. The house in Morwell will offer short-term accommodation for as long as three months for those in crisis situations. Lastly, the apartment in Moe will offer permanent accommodation for around three young people.
Through supplying homeless people with housing options, Pearce hopes to get more people off the streets. Pearce has already discussed her plans with youth housing providers and government organizations, getting advice on how best to run the properties.
Pearce’s inspiration also stems from her own personal experience, as she was kicked out of her childhood home at the age of 16. Pearce’s math teacher was kind enough to help her find stable housing at the time, a luxury that many homeless youth don’t have.
What Can You Do to Help?
Of course, not everyone has the money to purchase four houses to help homeless people. Though that would be incredible, it’s ultimately not feasible for those of us who can’t afford to buy ourselves a home, much less one for another person.
However, there are still many things you can do to help homeless people! A good deed can go a long way, even just a stroke of kindness or an unexpected smile can positively impact a person’s life.
If you don’t want to just give a homeless person money, you could give them food instead. I’ll often keep a box of granola bars or other food items in my car to give to homeless people I see on the streets. Get creative — you don’t have to even spend money!
You could volunteer at a local soup kitchen or just make some food for homeless people yourself. One person can impact many; never doubt that! Spread kindness and help your local community when you can.