An 'overwhelming' response to a social media post about a Doncaster man who found himself homeless after struggling to cope with bills and the loss of both of his parents, has led to him being found a new home within a matter of hours.
When Michelle McMahon posted a picture of a homeless man called Gary to her Helping in Doncaster Facebook group on Tuesday, she did it just with the intention of letting members of the fundraising group know that the money they had raised had helped to buy the 53-year-old some new boots and socks for the winter.
But the post struck a chord with thousands of people across the borough who began sharing the post and discussing ways they could help Gary.
Details of Gary's case were shared with Target Housing in Doncaster, who provide housing and 'support to enable vulnerable people to live independently,' and they were able to get Gary into safe accommodation within a few hours, where he is now residing.
Target Housing and other agencies are now supporting Gary to get back on his feet and towards re-entering employment and independent living.
Michelle says she thinks her Facebook post had such an effect on people because it illustrates how homelessness can 'affect anyone' - not just those suffering from alcohol and substance abuse problems.
The post read: "This is Gary, he lives by Home Bargains on York Rd, he isn't on drugs nor does he drink, he is someone who through no fault of his own was on unemployment benefits paid his bills than lost both his parents in a year..he suffered and lost his way in life..benefits cut to £40 a week.
"Couldn't keep up with the bills and eventually kicked out. Gary is 53 and is very grateful for what he as got...my fundraising group as just purchased him new boots and socks.. Gary's happy."
Michelle added: "The response has been overwhelming, I think it shows the power people can have when they come together like this."
Dozens of people are now raising money for the things Gary might need in his new life.
In next week's edition of the Free Press (out on September 29) we are going to take an in-depth look at Gary's story as well as the services available to homeless people in Doncaster both through groups like Helping in Doncaster and services and agencies across the borough that specialise in supporting the homeless.
Make sure you pick up a copy.
For more information on Helping in Doncaster click here.