Plea to get homeless Sussex man off the streets after he secures job offer

Anthony Johnson and Nelson Smith. Inset: Anthony's caravan
Anthony Johnson and Nelson Smith. Inset: Anthony's caravan

The kind strangers who helped a homeless man get a job after sharing his hand-written note on social media are now appealing for help in getting him off the street.

Anthony Johnson, who has been homeless for nine years, posted a note at a bus stop in Hastings asking to work for free to make life ‘worth living’.

Anthony's caravan

Anthony's caravan

The note was spotted by 16-year-old Charlotte Howard who said she was inspired to share it on Facebook because of the ‘heartbreaking’ message.

Her post was seen by Toni Pearce who arranged purchasing a caravan for 37-year-old Anthony to live in.

However, the caravan has been parked up on her drive since last weekend as she, Charlotte and Juliet Kelly, from Warming up the Homeless, look for somewhere to permanently keep it.

Toni said: “I have been involved in this since I saw Charlotte’s post.

Toni Pearce

Toni Pearce

“I commented on it mentioning the idea of buying a caravan and then I saw one being sold for £100.

“I contacted the owner to ask him to hold it for us while we got the funds together on a GoFundMe page and then he got back in contact to say the caravan is yours and that he didn’t want any money for it.

“He said he wanted the money to go towards doing it up, so he drove it round to mine and it’s been sitting on my drive ever since.”

Toni said she and Juliet had not realised the complexity of parking the caravan at a site for more than 21 days at a time.

Charlotte Howard shared Anthony's note on her Facebook page

Charlotte Howard shared Anthony's note on her Facebook page

She added: “We’ve spoken to a couple of places and we’re waiting to hear back from them but we’re still looking.

“We need somewhere permanent for Anthony to live.”

Toni has spent much of the past week doing up the caravan to make it suitable for Anthony to move into.

She said her plan now is to get a few bits and pieces to go inside to make his life easier.

Charlotte Howard said she found the note at a bus stop in Hastings

Charlotte Howard said she found the note at a bus stop in Hastings

Meanwhile, a fundraiser set up last weekend by Charlotte has now raised £2,270.

Toni added: “Charlotte has been amazing. It’s crazy to think she is only 16.

“If it wasn’t for her, none of this would have been possible. It’s a great story.”

Anthony, who has spent the last nine years either on the streets or in prison, will start work with Nelson Smith – a landscape gardener – on Monday (March 25).

Speaking to the Hastings Observer this week, he said: “Getting a job is about having something to do rather than rotting away on a bench. It’s about having something in your life and at the moment that seems to be coming back.”

If you know a place where Anthony can park his caravan, please email stephen.wynn-davies@jpimedia.co.uk.

Inside Anthony's caravan

Inside Anthony's caravan

Related stories:

Homeless Hastings man offers to work for free to ‘make life worth living’

Homeless Hastings man who wrote note asking for work is offered a job