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Facebook taps into kindness of strangers for homeless man

Homeless man Justin Taylor uses facebook to find a place to stay. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Homeless man Justin Taylor uses facebook to find a place to stay. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

SHE didn't know who he was or why he was homeless, but when Amy Hoeksema heard Justin Taylor was facing a night on the streets she drove all the way from Gracemere to Rockhampton just to give him a pillow and blanket.

Amy was one of many locals who reached out to Justin after the 23-year-old put out a plea on a Facebook page.

It was Justin's first night back in Rockhampton and he was desperate for help after his accommodation with friends fell through and he found none of the homeless shelters were open.

But he was saved from a night on the streets by the generosity of strangers, with dozens of responses from locals wanting to help.

"I put a post up on Facebook in the Rockhampton Classifieds saying I had nowhere to go and basically just wanted a lounge chair for the night," he said.

"I had heaps of people try and help me.

"It was a surprise. It felt good to know that half the town was willing to help."

While Amy provided the bedding, another man put a roof over his head.

But this isn't the first time Justin has used Facebook to find accommodation with strangers.

Originally from Mundubbera, Justin has been using the social networking site to find places to rent or stay ever since leaving high school.

He said in the past year alone he had lived in 10 to 12 different places, travelling to new towns to try to find work.

He said this way he'd met lots of interesting people, and still kept in touch with some of them.

"I've been living with strangers for the past probably four years… I've lived with heaps of different kinds of people," he said.

"I just put posts on Facebook and see who's got rooms for rent and usually try and trust people."

Justin didn't mention any safety concerns he had for himself, but said he could understand why some people may be apprehensive about inviting a stranger into their homes.

Topics:  accommodation, facebook, homeless, web world



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