Members of a charitable organization that serves hot meals to homeless people found Anne, who is in her 60s, living on the streets.
There are hundreds of homeless people in each and every city, mostly ignored by busy city dwellers who have no time to look around or pause to wonder what might have led folks to land up homeless on the street. It's hard to live on the streets, but for an elderly to be out in the cold with nothing but more than a duvet to protect her from the cold could be unimaginably hard. This photo of an elderly woman, who found herself in this difficult situation, went viral after a volunteer from a charity organization shared it online. People responded to it by helping out financially as they wanted the senior woman to have a roof over her head.
The scared lady was found on the streets of Manchester city center, UK. She had a duvet, and nothing else, to keep her warm. She was shivering and lonely when she was found there by volunteers of the Don't Walk Past organization, as per Daily Mail. When Anne, whose last name was not revealed to the public, was found, she was sitting on a sheet of tarpaulin on Market Street on October 27 evening, when the weather was cold and rainy.
It is not known how she landed up homeless but the woman in her 60s had been there for a week before she was found by Don't Walk Past member Matthew Hudson. He and another member, Lauren Jones, had been giving out hot meals to homeless folks when they saw Anne. Lauren, 33, clicked the heartbreaking photo and shared it.
She said that the senior woman was initially offered a place outside the city center, but she wasn't comfortable with it. Then, the group put her up in a hotel and footed the bill themselves. "She was very confused," Lauren said, according to Manchester Evening News. "She was scared. She was sitting on a tarpaulin, with just a duvet. She was freezing cold."
The volunteers wanted to help her, but they had to let her make her own decision. "We made a few phone calls and gave her our card, to let her know we could help. People have said 'she can stay with me,' but it's not as simple as that. We went home, and it played on our minds even more. We left at midnight and it was cold and wet. She was still out there. I posted that picture on Facebook and it went viral. The picture was really shocking. It broke my heart. I knew it was distressing yet powerful, but I didn't realize how many people would be touched by it," she added.
Lauren and other members of the organization notified the council in the area about Anne's situation. The town hall also said that teams were sent looking for her. "We are working to find her as a priority so she can be found accommodation and offered all the support at our disposal," the council said on October 28.
Soon after, Lauren found her, and Anne was "very upset" about something then. "She said she's been moved on from where she'd been. She was in Piccadilly Gardens. It was scary for her, there were lots of noises. She said it was like 'Armageddon'. We're still trying to find out what happened to her, how she ended up on the streets. We've given her a new phone with a new SIM card. We can't force anybody to do anything. It's about gaining trust - we're here if she needs us," said Lauren.
The woman in her 60s is now under a roof and social services are going to take the matter forward. "In my experience, that means she will get a place in a hostel or sheltered housing. She has a few mental health problems and was paranoid people were following her," said Lauren to Daily Mail.
It is only because of volunteers like Lauren and Matthew that Anne found a warm place to sleep in when the weather in Manchester is absolutely not conducive to sleeping outside. The kind strangers, who are part of a charity group, continue to help others.