A homeless couple in their late 50s say they were overwhelmed by public kindness after sharing their story about living in a minivan for the last three-and-a-half years.
Jerry Power, 59, and Sandra Graham, 57, said they were evicted from their apartment in Cambridge, Ont., and had no other choice but to move into their grey Nissan Quest minivan.
But the couple says they are now moving from heartbreak to hope, after a Good Samaritan found them a hotel room and the local housing authority found an apartment for them.
Father-of-two Doug Laking saw the report and couldn’t ignore their plight, so he put them up in a Cambridge hotel for two nights.
“They were in tears, it brought us to tears too,” he said.
“If I could put a smile on one person’s face for Thanksgiving it’s all worth it.
“There’s no Canadians that should be living like this. There’s money being spent everywhere, we’ve got to start taking care of our own.”
The Region of Waterloo Housing Division said it has been working on the couple’s case since the summer, but a lack of housing supply saw the couple join a lengthy waiting list. Finally, it managed to find them an apartment.
The common-law couple’s eviction followed a lengthy battle with an insurance company over an injury Graham sustained when she was hit by a car while riding her bicycle.
Power and Graham, who are unemployed, have been denied social insurance because she still collects $1,100 a month in insurance payouts stemming from her accident.
Thankfully for them, the couple have a temporary place to stay until their apartment is ready.
“He (Laking) gave us money so we’d have a nice Thanksgiving and we’re just so grateful, I don’t know how to express the gratefulness,” Graham said, fighting back tears.
“I’m overwhelmed, I’ve been bawling the last couple of days, I just can’t get over what good people we have.”
Power added: “We can’t explain it in words, all the comments and gift cards, the money, the support, it’s just been phenomenal.”
The couple should be moving into their new home in November after enduring numerous nights of sub-zero temperatures.
Recently the couple had parked their van, which no longer starts, in a Home Depot parking lot.
With files from CTV Kitchener