Homeless heartache

Good Samaritan lets couple build shelter in her driveway

FROM being homeless and sleeping under a tree to building a shelter with wooden pallets and construction plastic sheet in someone’s driveway is how some people survive in the cold winter nights.

SEEKING SHELTER : Lee-Ann Jacoby and Hendrikus du Preez has been allowed to live on the driveway of a West Bank resident. They were sleeping under a tree before Picture: QHAMANI LINGANI

Lee-Ann Jacoby, 34 and boyfriend Hendrikus du Preez, 36, currently occupy Debbie Barrow’s driveway in West Bank.

Jacoby used to work for Barrow, doing house chores. One day Barrow saw the couple sleeping under a tree in the area and decided to take them home.  

This is the temporary structure that Lee-Ann Jacoby and Hendrikus du Preez live in Picture: QHAMANI LINGANI

But I can’t let them stay inside my house and they are kind of strangers [to my family]. Yes, I know Lee-Ann but I don’t know her very well. I could not just let them stay there [in the house],” explained Barrow.

The couple has been at the Barrow residence for almost a month and a half. They are allowed to relax at the house, bath and use the toilet facilities, but when night time falls, they go back to their shelter in the yard.

I just could not let a woman continue sleeping in the park under a tree, it is very dangerous there. A lot of people sleep there. I just took one out of that situation. It’s not much but it’s the least I can do to help,” she said.

Lee-Ann Jacoby and Hendriks du Preez

Jacoby has an eight-year-old son who doesn’t live with her. She claims that a well off family took him with an agreement that she would visit him any time that she wanted but the family has since moved to Durban and she has not seen her son in two years.

I went to social development with my story and I was informed that I can only take my son back when I get a home and can afford to take him to school. I can’t afford any of this. But I miss my son so much and he must live with his mother,” said an emotional Jacoby.

The couple is asking the East London public to help with jobs for both of them so that they can afford to buy at least a wendy house to live in.

Any donation is most welcome, even if it is food, money, clothes or anything. Hendrikus is good with cars and welding. I can clean houses and baby sit,” said a desperate Jacoby.

If you want to assist the couple in any way, you can contact Barrow on 076-531-4510.


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