A homeless Godalming woman has “hope for a better tomorrow” after good Samaritans raised more than £1,500 to get her off the streets.
Sue, who has lived in Surrey for 30 years but became homeless 18 months ago after she said she fell behind with her rent due to the government’s “bedroom tax”.
She stayed at two shelters but ended up fearing for her life.
Since then, she has been on the streets of Godalming, “walking all day, trying to find a place to stay”.
After hearing of her plight, Debbie Holmes, 45, from Wormley and her friend, Tracey, decided to set up a Just Giving web page in the hope of raising £3,000 to pay for Sue’s outstanding debt to the housing association.
The pair has been “astounded” by the response, with donations totalling £1,500 on Friday – just a week after the fundraising effort was launched.
Sue told Get Surrey: “I had absolutely no idea they were doing this.
“It has been truly inspiring and wonderful to see this community pulling resources to help a person such as myself in crisis. The gestures of kindness and goodwill have been magnanimous and from the heart.
“I am humbled and so grateful for all the support you have shown me. I hope one day to look back and remember this time as one of learning.”
The two fundraisers declare they are now “life-long friends” after meeting when offering Sue toiletries.
Tracey said: “We were just two strangers. I met Debbie’s daughter, Lucy, who was talking to Sue on the street one day. I started talking to Debbie and it went from there. Having been homeless myself, I can see the other side and it is really hard.”
Debbie added: “Sue is such a strong woman who has kept her pride and dignity. We are just providing the stepping stone to help her out. The response from Godalming has been astounding. It was completely unexpected.
“We shared the fundraiser on Godalming Community Board’s Facebook page and the donations kept coming in.”
The Surrey County Council Youth Group has now stepped in, trying to raise more money by organising a “Stay Up All Night” event for Friday September 23.
Sue said she hoped her story would raise awareness about homelessness, adding: “It’s important that people understand what homelessness is all about. It is long-suffering.
“You are dirty, covered in petrol fumes, you don’t know where your next meal is coming from or if you will survive the night.
“I have seen fights and the nights can be scary. It is damaging to your health. There are many people who are talented who end up homeless and they have just fallen on tough times.
“There is a stereotype of what homelessness is but I hope for a better tomorrow and look forward to a future where no one is homeless.”
To help Sue get off the streets visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/helpsueoffthestreets.