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Non-Profit Turns Old City Buses into Mobile Shower Stations for the Homeless

One of the dire problems faced by homeless people across America is the shortage of public showers and toilets. Unofficially dubbed one of the homeless capitals of the nation, San Francisco’s 6,500 homeless have access to only about 16 to 20 shower stalls. But Lava Mae, a San Francisco nonprofit, is trying to make a difference by converting retired city buses into mobile shower stations.

Lava Mae is the brainchild of former marketing executive Doniece Sandoval, who, moved by the plight of the homeless around her, quit her job to help them. “One day I passed a woman in the street and she was very dirty and basically crying, and I heard her say that she would never be clean.” Sandoval told ABC News. “There’s obviously a lot of layers but I was wondering what her opportunities were to actually get clean.”

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Swiss Football Fan Travels to Italy for Game, Stays for 11 Years Living on the Streets

Meet Rolf Bantle, a Swiss football fan who lived on the streets of Milan, Italy, for over a decade just because he lost his way after a match! 

As it turns out, Bantle used to be a resident of an alcoholics’ rehabilitation center in Läufelfingen in the canton of Basel-Country. He had been on a day trip to the San Siro stadium in Milan, on August 24, 2004, to watch his home team FC Basel play Inter Milan, in a Champions League match. But by the end of the match, he was reported missing, as he failed to show up at the bus that had transported him and his fellow Swiss football fans to the stadium. They left home without him.

Bantle, 71, recently told  a Swiss newspaper his version of events – he had visited the toilet at the stadium that fateful day, where he became disoriented and could not locate his friends. “I was suddenly in a different sector,” he said. “I had about 20 euros in my pocket and no phone so I wandered into Milan. People gave me food and cigarettes, and one student offered me a sleeping bag.” 

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Bride-to-Be Turns Wedding Reception into Feast for the Homeless After Groom Gets Cold Feet

When 27-year-old Quinn Duane’s finance dumped her just a week before their wedding, the young woman decided to make the best of the situation. Instead of cancelling the wedding venue and catering, she invited the city’s homeless to partake in the elaborate feast.

Quinn herself was too devastated to attend what should have been her own wedding reception, but her family stood in for her to welcome the guests at Sacramento’s Citizen Hotel. “When I found out Monday that the wedding would not be taking place, it just seemed like, of course, this would be something that we would do to give back, Quinn’s mother Kari told local media. “I feel a lot of heartache and heartbreak for her, but I will take away something good from this.”

The meal, prepared by the hotel’s four-star restaurant ‘Grange’, consisted of salad, appetizers, gnocchi, salmon, and steak. It was originally intended to feed 120 guests, after the $35,000 ceremony at the hotel. The wedding, sadly, was not meant to be, but Quinn and her family decided to go ahead with the meal, only with an entirely different guest list.

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Homeless Couple Clean Up Brooklyn Park, Keep It Safe for Everyone

They might be homeless, but that’s not stopping this Brooklyn couple from doing their bit for the city. They spend their nights at a tiny park and during the day, do a better job of cleaning it than the local administration!

57-year-old Chris and 54-year-old Tammy are from Pennsylvania, but they drifted to Brooklyn after falling on hard times. Since then, they’ve been living on this small traffic island in the heart of Bay Ridge, and are doing everything they can to keep their surroundings clean.

“I’m homeless, my wife is homeless and what we do is we clean up the park,” Chris told Pix11 news. “We like to make it clean. We’re keeping it clean in many ways.”

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Meet Weesay, the Blind and Homeless Oil Can Guitar Master

Wesseh Freeman, a.k.a Weesay, became an internet sensation last December for his badass strumming skills. His unique handmade guitar – cobbled together from an old stick, a paint can, and three used strings – caught the attention of brothers Nikhil and Sachin Ramchandani, the owners of O! Chips, a potato chips company in Liberia. So they asked him to write a jingle for their brand, and posted a video on the company’s YouTube channel. The two-and-a-half minute clip instantly went viral.

Weesay, 37, is blind and homeless. But that hasn’t affected his musical abilities in the least. The man is truly gifted, and that’s evident just from the guitar he managed to fashion for himself. According to Guitar World, “His frets are made from bike spokes or coat hangers and are apparently movable; yet he has a mastery of intonation. This instrument should be completely out of tune…but it’s not! Weesay plays it like a boss.”

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9-Year-Old Girl Spends Her Free Time Building Tiny Shelters for the Homeless

Hailey Ford may look like an ordinary nine-year-old girl, but her magnanimity is rather uncommon and awe-inspiring. The little saint has made it her mission to help the homeless in her community by giving them a place to sleep.

While most other kids her age are content playing with toys, Hailey picks up power tools to build tiny shelters for people living on the streets. “It just doesn’t seem right that there are homeless people,” she told KING 5 News. “I think everyone should have a place to live.”

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Kindhearted “Sandwich Man” Spends His Nights Feeding the Homeless

While most people look forward to a quiet retirement, 70-year-old Allan Law seems unstoppable. The former teacher from Minneapolis has spent the past 15 years tirelessly delivering food and other supplies to people on the streets. He distributed a whopping 520,000 sandwiches to the homeless last year, and over 1 million since 1999, earning himself the nickname ‘Sandwich Man’.

A typical day for Allan starts with collecting sandwiches made by volunteers, and donations from various groups to his organisation ‘Minneapolis Recreation Development Inc’. He then begins his delivery rounds at 9pm, driving his van through the streets of inner city Minneapolis, handing out sandwiches. He drives on relentlessly, ending his shift only at 10am. As a backup, Allan has 17 freezers in his apartment in Edina, packed with thousands of sandwiches. “Most of these are going to be turkey, bologna and cheese,” he explained during a video news report.

Allan, himself a patient of arthritis and a cancer survivor, continues to remain committed to his work, despite his ill health. “People say, ‘You’re crazy,’ and I say, ‘No. If I was homeless, or if I had a couple of little kids that needed food or something, I would appreciate someone coming, giving a helping hand,’” he said.

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Homeless Bodybuilder Uses the Streets of Paris as His Gym

50-year-old Sayagh Jacques has a rather unusual hobby for a homeless man – bodybuilding. Although he’s been living on the streets of Paris for years, he hasn’t let his homeless status stop him from training harder than most people, and maintaining his six pack abs. I suppose it goes to show that if you’re really passionate about something, you can make it happen under any circumstances.

Jacques has no qualms about working out right in the middle of the street. When people give him money, he doesn’t use it to smoke or drink. Instead, he tries to eat specific foods that will help him gain muscle. He’s also managed to procure a few pieces of makeshift equipment – a cable and a few ropes – that he ties to lamp poles and park fences. He uses these to do basic bodyweight exercises like pull ups, push ups, pullovers and rows.

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Meet Slavik, the Most Fashionable Homeless Man in Ukraine

55-year-old Slavik, a homeless man from the Ukrainian city of Lviv, is making waves online with his outrageous fashion choices. Although he appears disheveled, he puts together stylish outfits using the various articles of clothing that he picks up from the city’s trash bins and homeless aid centers. He changes clothes at least twice a day and never wears the same outfits. He also styles his hair and beard to match each ensemble, and even shaves his armpits!

Slavik’s unique grooming routine was introduced to the world by Ukrainian photographer Yurko Dyachyshyn. Yurko was drawn to Slavik while working on a project in the city center; he noticed Slavik approaching strangers asking for spare change. Soon, he began photographing the homeless man’s sartorial choices, paying him roughly $1 per meeting.

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Meet the Young New York Homeless Who Puts a Roof over His Head by Picking Up Women and Going Home with Them

Joe is a crafty young homeless man in New York who hooks up with a different woman each night just to avoid sleeping out in the cold. The 26-year-old serial charmer has managed to lure hundreds of women into inviting him to spend the night with them. Originally from Boston, Joe says that he loves New York because it has 8 million people, and he can be with a different girl whenever he wants.

“Dude I’ll go up to any random girl and tell them I love them, I wanna marry ‘em – just for recreational purposes,” he bragged. Joe isn’t exactly the definition of handsome, but his confidence and arrogance seem to be serving him quite well. And his homeless status doesn’t really stop him from trying to look good.

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Homeless Man Finds Baby Girl While Digging through Garbage, Raises Her as His Own

Seven years ago, a homeless man in China was scavenging in a garbage bin when he found something that would change his life forever – a tiny baby girl! He was so overcome with emotion that he decided to raise her as his own child. 50-year-old Xiong Jianguo now lives under a bridge in Nanchang City with his seven-year-old adopted daughter, whom he named Yanyan.

“I guess she was one of those children that was born to a family who didn’t want a girl,” said Xiong. “I had lifted the top of the rubbish bin and was looking to see if there are any plastic bottles I could sell to recycle, when I heard a baby. She was in a box in a blanket and I was absolutely stunned.” The box, apparently, contained a single note: “Was born on October 15, 2007.”

The baby looked so helpless that Xiong took her home; at the time, he lived with his wife in a tiny room. The couple bought a baby bottle to feed her, and that’s when he knew that he wanted to look after her for as long as he could. “No matter how hard it is, I intend to make sure that I raise her until she is old enough to stand on her own two feet. I don’t believe she would have had a good life in an orphanage,” he said.

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Anti-Homeless Spikes Installed Outside London Apartment Building Spark Massive Outrage

Photos of metal spikes installed outside a posh apartment building in on Southwark Bridge Road, London, designed to keep homeless people from taking shelter there, have caused massive outrage after they went viral on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

The spikes are believed to have been installed last month by the building developer, and have been compared to the metal spikes used to keep birds from landing on certain buildings. They were placed in a sheltered alcove right next to the door, where homeless people were sometimes taking refuge from the rain. The building in question is located opposite a hostel for homeless people with mental problems.

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Kindhearted Artist Turns Trash into Tiny Mobile Homes for the Homeless

Gregory Kloehn is an artist who uses his skills for a really worthy cause – building homes for the homeless. Making use of recycled and reclaimed materials found on the street, he creates small mobile homes, each about the size of a sofa. These homes come with pitched roofs to keep out the rain and wheels at the bottom, for mobility. So far, he’s built about 10 shelters through the ‘Homeless Homes Project’, and hopes to create more in the future.

Although they’re not made of much, the tiny homes are more than enough for someone with no other place to sleep. They are painted in bright colors and have a few quirky elements – like washing machine doors for windows and minivan tops for roofs. Gregory, 43, is a sculptor by profession, but he went on a construction spree after building his five-unit live-work condominium from scratch. Originally from Denver, he now lives in Oakland, California, where he carries out his philanthropic construction project.

“Before, I was all about sculpture, but I realized it just sits there,” he said. “And you’re just peddling it to rich people. I kind of think if you’re putting so much effort into something it would be nice if it did something.” So with his new-found fascination for architecture, Gregory began to study homeless shanties in his neighborhood. He wrote a book called ‘Homeless Architecture’ at the time, admiring how they were able to recycle all day and make homes out of almost nothing.

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Narayanan Krishnan – The Selfless Hero Helping India’s Helpless

Hero is a very strong word, but it fits 34-year-old Narayanan Krishnan perfectly. During the last 12 years, he has served over 1.5 million meals to India’s homeless, mostly people abandoned by their families, either suffering from mental conditions or too old to care for themselves.

Back in 2002, young  Narayanan Krishnan was already an award-winning chef working in a high-class restaurant for the prestigious Taj Hotels, and close to securing a job with another 5-star hotel, in Switzerland. Just before heading off to Europe, he traveled to his home town of Madurai, to visit his parents, where witnessed a scene that changed the course of his life forever. “I saw a very old man eating his own human waste for food,” Krishnan told CNN. “It really hurt me so much. I was literally shocked for a second. After that, I started feeding that man and decided this is what I should do the rest of my lifetime.”

Although he was a Brahmin – an upper class Hindu – destined for a successful career as a chef, Narayanan decided to give it all up and dedicate his life to helping those who couldn’t help themselves. Shaken by the scene he has witnessed in Madurai, he quit his job within a week, convinced his destiny wasn’t to cook elaborate dishes for the rich and famous, but provide sustenance to those who needed it most. “That night I thought, what am I doing? I am selling a plate of fried rice for ten dollars in my hotel where people come and have food for fantasy, fun, joy and recreation. Not for hunger. They eat only half portion of it and leave half of in the plate. It was a spark, a very powerful spark that I had,” the young chef said about the event that made him what he is today.

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Inspiring Doctor Dresses as Homeless and Makes House Calls to People without Homes

Dr. Jim Withers, from Pittsburgh, Pa., has dedicated the past 20 years of his life to treating the city’s homeless. He is known as the ‘street doctor’ because he dresses up like a homeless person and goes out at night to provide medical care to the real needy.

The extraordinary doctor started his unusual practice in 1992, along with Mike Sallows, a former homeless man. The two of them went out at night with backpacks of medicine. Withers estimates that he has treated over 1,200 homeless people a year since 1992.

Today, his initiative has evolved into a national network of medical students and volunteers who treat the homeless, four nights a week. The nightly service is now a nonprofit – Operation Safety Net. It is one of the first full-time street medicine programs in the United States.

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