A young Laois man has set up a fundraiser in a bid to try get a homeless man that he has befriended a home.
Stradbally native Dean Maher has set up a GoFundMe account for his friend Graham who has been sleeping rough in Portlaoise for the last while.
Originally from Belfast, Graham spent many years in foster care before becoming homeless when he turned 18.
He moved to Dublin where he experienced a number of difficulties before gathering up enough money to get a train down to Portlaoise where he has been staying ever since.
Dean befriended Graham one day on his way home from work and is now determined to help him get back on his feet.
Dean explained: “I’ve got to know Graham over the past few weeks and I can honestly tell you that he is one of the nicest lads I’ve ever met.
“He is originally from Belfast, but has had a tough time since the age of 12 when he went into foster care. However, that only lasted until he turned 18 and then unfortunately he has had to fend for himself when he came out of care and ended up on the streets in Dublin.
“He had a hard time up there – from being robbed, abused and assaulted – until finally he decided to save up enough and get on a train to Portlaoise.
“My first time meeting Graham really opened my eyes to his generosity, I brought him over food one night when I finished work, I sat down beside him and the first thing he did was open the bag and offered to share his food with me.
“I couldn’t get over the gesture. We chatted for almost two hours the first night and now nearly every time we meet it is the same.
“While I was with him one day a woman said to him, ‘I’m very sorry to hear about your situation’ as this is what pops into most of our minds when we hear about someone being homeless.
“But Graham’s response blew me away. He said: ‘God, thank you but don’t be sorry. Honestly, I am happy, I’m healthy and have food and a place to sleep. There are people out there who are so much worse off than me. This is just a bad time but I know it will always get better’.
Dean also told how Graham has applied for a number of jobs since he came to Laois and he has also been inundated with kind acts from the people he has encountered down here.
Dean said: “He told me that he has never seen anything like the generosity and kindness of the people in Laois Since he got here.
“He has set himself a goal of finding a place that he can finally call his home. And my god I’ve never met a more driven person to do that.
“He has already applied for a couple of jobs down here and is waiting to get his Safe Pass.
“Everyone needs a hand in life sometimes, I for one have needed help many times in the past. The good thing about us as people is we help each other in time of need.
“We are doing this fundraiser to help Graham get back on his feet and start his life. To get him a place he can call home.
“Somewhere he can finally start to follow his dreams. Everything that’s made will be put towards this goal. Every little helps, Even if it’s just going over to him For a quick chat.”
If you wish to donate, you can do so by clicking here.