Facebook appeal finds flat for homeless man

Man with white beard, cap and dark-rimmed spectacles
Josef had been living on the streets of Bordeaux for five years before meeting Pascale Jordan

A viral post on Facebook has helped find a home for a man who has been living on the streets of Bordeaux

Pascale Jordan posted an appeal for help on Facebook after she met homeless man Josef on the street. Within a few hours her post went viral, and two days later a home had been found for him.

The decorator had been living on the streets for five years when Ms Jordan came across him holding a sign saying he was looking for painting work. She offered him a small job renovating a studio and said the results were "extraordinary". She decided to do what she could to help get Josef off the street.

"He is incredible but he does not dare to knock on doors. I, on the other hand, have a big mouth and I wanted to do something to help," Ms Jordan said.

After having no luck with social services, she turned to social media and Facebook. She called on the people of Bordeaux to find employment or housing for Prague-born Josef, so he did not have to spend another winter outside.

The post on the Wanted Community Bordeaux page, later moved to its own Facebook page, attracted thousands of comments and was shared nearly 8 000 times.

“I was hoping to reach 50, maybe 100 people, maximum. I never imagined the story would take off like this,” Ms Jordan said.

Many of the offers that came in were for opportunities outside Bordeaux, but it was important for Josef to stay in the city where he had made connections.

Within 48 hours Ms Jordan posted a photograph of Josef with a set of keys and with 'Christelle', who has given him a small apartment to live in rent-free until April next year. Christelle hopes Josef will pay for his rent by doing work on the apartment.  

"There is work to be done, but it's a very cute workshop, with a table and a sofa bed," Ms Jordan said, adding that Josef has been very enthusiastic about the idea.

A collection fund has also raised €3,214 from 186 donors to date.

The work is not over as Josef’s Czech passport was stolen, and he needs a social worker or lawyer to help him sort his affairs.

“The aim is for him to just be able to breathe and to walk the streets of Bordeaux like anyone else, without fear," Ms Jordan said.

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