Durham Region woman’s TikTok videos go viral as she tries to help homeless man – Durham
A recent social media post that has gone viral brings the community together to help someone find a place to live in Whitby, Ontario.
Liz Kaplan met Michael Brusseau about two weeks ago outside a square in north Whitby.
“He lives on time. When you talk to him, he tries to meet some basic needs first, so he’ll ask you for warmth, to sit in your car,” Kaplan explains.
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After noticing he was cold, hungry and having health issues, she turned to TikTok to try and get help.
Views quickly topped three million as more and more people offered donations.
“Our best hope is to put him in permanent accommodation and use the donations to help him live. At worst, I can at least use it to rent him a hotel and buy him basic supplies,” Kaplan explained.
Leanna Forsyth, another local resident, also defended Brusseau.
“Michael has unfortunately lost most of his teeth and he can’t eat hard foods, so I asked him what his favorite foods were and made him peanut butter, honey and mashed potato sandwiches. potatoes,” Forsyth said.
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After about two months of trying to get medical attention in Brusseau, Forsyth and others in the community say he can’t fight back and health care workers should step in.
“He needs support to survive each day and receive direction each day. Along with that, I think we need an amendment for what’s happening to all the Michaels and Michelles on the street,” Forsyth added.
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Advocates are frustrated when it comes to helping other homeless residents in Durham Region.
“The ability to give support, or even to have consent to give support is difficult,” said Elizabeth Roy, deputy mayor of Whitby.
“To be able to diagnose and be able to provide that support, ongoing support, there’s a disconnect…Where that disconnect is, I can’t pinpoint.”
A statement from the Regional Municipality of Durham read: ‘Staff from various programs including the Primary Care Outreach Program (PCOP), Street Outreach Teams and Durham Regional Police Services all work together days to coordinate and provide services.”
However, they add “We cannot assist individuals without their consent to receive supports and services.”
A GoFundMe, which launched earlier this week for Michael, has already reached nearly $2,000.
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