A couple raising three children in tents at Mt Pleasant said they were overwhelmed with gratitude for the caring community.
After a story published in The Examiner about their plight, Leah and Jonathon “Budgie” Williams have been flooded with offers of help and support.
“It’s amazing all the sorts of people [our situation] has touched, to be honest with you,” Mr Williams said.
“It shows you that there’s still humanity in the world.”
One school teacher drove up to their campsite, next to a burned-out heritage gatehouse at Westbury Road, with bags of school supplies for Leah’s three sons.
On another occasion, when exiting the campsite, they found an esky filled with containers of homemade soup and bread rolls.
“I can’t believe that,” Mr Williams said. “That was just the best.”
But the most significant donation was from a member of the public who asked to remain anonymous, who gave the family a car.
THE HOUSING CRISIS:
- Meet the faces behind Launceston’s homelessness crisis
- Housing Tasmania loses Supreme Court appeal to evict intellectually disabled man
- Social housing evictions impacting vulnerable families: report
- Anglicare report points to a ‘perfect storm’ with fewer rental properties
- Sleeping pod solution to combat homelessness
- Hotels asked to help on homelessness action
- Homeless increase outpacing population: report
The gentleman explained that when he was young, an older man – a “drunk” – helped him get back on his feet.
He was a ward of the state in Australia with no roof over his head and nowhere to go, after he migrated from England via ship fleeing an abusive stepfather.
The man gave the car to the Williams’ on one condition – “one day, do something good for somebody else”.
He said he did not care about the factors leading to the family’s homelessness, and that his concern was with the children.
He insisted that his donation of a vehicle to a family of complete strangers was not a big deal.
Another man, who used to be homeless himself, approached the family and said he would check up on them every few weeks to make sure they were doing relatively OK.
“He had me crying instantly,” Ms Williams said. “He was lovely.”
“You don’t realise that a lot of these higher-stature people have been in a similar situation.”
Other community members have given them bags of food and other necessities, and vouchers for stores such as Coles and K-Mart.
“It just shows you that even when things are dark, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr Williams said.
The Williams’ have been homeless for more than three months, after being evicted from a Housing Tasmania property with debt of more than $10,000.
There are differing accounts of what caused their eviction, but the family – consisting of Leah, Budgie, and three boys aged 10, 11, and 13 – said they are challenging the debt and trying to get back on their feet.
There are more than 1600 homeless people in Tasmania, with more than 3000 on the public housing waitlist.