Giving

Strangers come forward to help homeless Kijiji family find new apartment in Dartmouth

“A lot of people who offered things were people who didn’t have much to give, but they offered what they had”

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Humanity shines bright in Halifax. Homeless Kijiji family finds home in time for Christmas   Nicole Gnazdowsky

Shannon Graham and her son, DJ, say they are overwhelmed with the helpful responses they’ve received from strangers across the province after the Signal published their story last week.

The story was posted on a popular local Facebook page, Halifax Newschasers, and was shared on social media over 100 times. Within 48 hours of her story going public, Graham said she received more than 50 emails from people wanting to help.

“I had one man contact me, ask me my address, and immediately showed up with a truckload of food,” said Graham. “He wouldn’t give me his name, he just wanted to help.”

“I have been put on the Salvation Army’s Christmas Basket list by strangers. A local church contacted me telling me I could come and get whatever food I needed from their food bank,” she said. “I’ve had numerous offers to come stay with complete strangers who had available rooms from as far away as Cape Breton.”.

“When I put the ad on Kijiji I really just expected someone would take pity on me and offer me an apartment, or even just a solution to get rid of the bed bugs,” said Graham on Wednesday.

“A lot of people who offered things were people who didn’t have much to give, but they offered what they had.”.

Daphne Williamson, a lawyer and long-time civil rights and social justice advocate, came across Graham’s story and felt compelled to help.

Williamson runs a charity called the Hope Shelter and Wellness Foundation. Through her connections and with the help of a few relatives and friends she was able to collect a fund for Graham to help her move into her own apartment.

“I always try to take something like this on every year,” Williamson said. “Poverty and homelessness are important issues to me.”

“When I read the story I felt compelled to help,” she said. “It’s a mother and child without a home.”

Graham calls Williamson “Superwoman”. With the funds and help she received, she and her son moved into their own apartment on Wednesday.

“At the beginning of this whole thing, I really had no idea what to do, but now I feel like if something doesn’t work out, I actually have options,” said Graham.

Graham said her son is very happy to know the two will be okay going forward. All he wants for Christmas is to have a tree in their new home.

“I don’t even know what to say. I am just super overwhelmed, and super thankful,” said Graham. “It has been surreal. It has definitely has shown me that a lot of people do care”.

“I feel like I can finally breathe for a minute. Humanity really stepped up when the government was failing me.”