For people sleeping rough, surviving winter is especially tough. In Melbourne, Australia, the cold weather has certainly arrived, with the last day of autumn starting off with a low temperature of just 5 degrees Celsius in the city. This time of year always sees extra pressure put on homelessness services.
That’s why there’s never been a better time to hear some positive news for Melbourne’s homeless population.
Meet local woman Jessica Pearce, who felt so shocked and guilty when confronted with the amount of people sleeping on the streets of Melbourne, she started buying houses for them.
Yep, you heard right, and she didn’t stop at one house, she bought four. After paying off her mortgage on her own house, she was on the hunt for an investment property to purchase in Melbourne. But after staying in the city with her partner and meeting some of the people who were sleeping rough, her plans changed.
"I guess it just touched me and I thought that maybe there was something that we could do," Pearce told The ABC.
The pair met a man who had two young children who were staying with his ex-partner. He didn’t have access to his kids as he had no stable accommodation. Touched by his story Pearce and her partner invited the man back to their hotel before putting him up in a motel for a month.
"I wanted him to have stable accommodation for the children," she said.
Foregoing her plans to purchase an investment property in town, Pearce looked further afield and instead bought four cheaper houses in regional areas that can act as short-term accommodation for people in need.
For example, one of the houses is specifically for people with children who need somewhere to stay while they wait for a longer-term solution.
In another good news story, 100 homeless and disadvantaged people have been invited to dine at one of Melbourne’s five-star hotels. As reported by 9 News, The Langley Group had booked an event at the Intercontinental Melbourne The Rialto, but had had to be cancel it at the last minute and were unable to be refunded.
Instead, the five-star lunch has been donated to charity.
"These people that would normally never have the opportunity to come into a place like that are going to have a full five-star dining experience," the Langly’s Mahta Manzouri said.
Charity groups Melbourne City Mission, St Mary's House of Welcome and Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project hurriedly managed to arrange 100 people to dine at the hotel. Among these people are disadvantaged youth, people experiencing homelessness and asylum seekers.
"The common thread between all our clients is social isolation and mental health," Said House of Welcome's Lee-Ann Boyle.
Heading into winter, we hope to see more generous acts of kindness as these.