Helping homeless people a family effort

Published 1:00pm 31 May 2024

Helping homeless people a family effort
Words by Jodie Powell

A Bray Park man and his family are delivering hundreds of home-cooked meals and other essentials to homeless people across the Moreton Bay region every week.

Beau Haywood’s mission began about three months ago when he launched Nourish Street – Brisbane.

“I was looking at getting into some sort of community service and I was driving along through Redcliffe and I counted 49 cars or tents (along the foreshore),” Beau says.

“My brother and I usually do a (donation) run along here at Christmas, so I decided to put a call out on Facebook so I could get food for a hamper drop.

“Someone donated meat, so my partner did some cooking and then Pizza Hut at Strathpine donated 120 pizzas and an Indian chef donates 110 meals every Saturday, which we deliver to everybody individually.”

Special connection

Helping homeless people a family effort

Beau’s eldest sons, Kane, 19, and Zion, 16, regularly join him on his delivery runs, which take several hours and see them distribute more than 100 hot meals to homeless people living at various points across the region including Redcliffe and Lawnton.

The former mechanical fitter and welder has not been able to work for more than four years after undergoing carpal tunnel surgery and is acutely aware of the impact cost of living pressures is having on many families.

He’s funding his food deliveries from his own savings and relies heavily on donations from the community to continue his work.

Beau’s no stranger to homelessness, having lived rough after separating from his partner and says his experience helps him connect with the people he’s helping.

“I was a meth addict for about 25 years and my partner kicked me out and I became homeless,” Beau says.

Unable to secure a place in a detox unit, Beau hunkered down in his swag and rode it out.

He was able to gain a place at a rehabilitation centre, which he says turned his life around.

“I did a three month program at Moonyah, and my partner took me back.”

Community effort

Once he returned to Bray Park, Beau was determined to contribute to the community and has been humbled by the support he’s received from local businesses such as Signarama at Brendale, which has adorned his ute with Nourish Street signs.

“The community are really starting to get on board,” Beau says.

“The food is really just a little bit of what I do – it’s about forming connections and building trust.

“When I started there were about 80 people and now I am up to 117.

“I realise that what I’m doing is just a band-aid, but I know it’s appreciated.”

Welcome connection

Helping homeless people a family effort

Former Bray Park resident Zac and his family have been living on the foreshore at Redcliffe for several months and are grateful for the support Beau and his family are providing.

“We’d still be living in the car if it wasn’t for this gentleman,” Zac says.

“We’d be stuffed if it wasn’t for Beau. He’s brought us tarps and swags and he not only drops off donations, he checks in on people.

“It’s the people you least expect who help you.”

Zac and his family became homeless after having to make the heartbreaking choice between paying rent and buying food.

“We’ve got five kids aged from four to 13, with three boys in the middle – they’re 7, 9 and 12.

“We lived in a house in Bray Park for nearly five years and it got to the point where it was paying rent or feeding everyone.

“Since we’ve come out here, we’ve applied for 509 houses and been knocked back for all of them.”

Zac says they’ve struggled to access Department of Housing accommodation because they own a dog.

“They told us to get rid of our dog, to rehome or kill our dog,” Zac says.

“But my oldest boy is autistic and non-verbal but he gets up every morning and feeds the dog and makes sure he has water.

“It would be like getting rid of one of my kids.”

How you can help

Beau says Nourish Street is always looking for perishable food to make meals and non-perishable food items, as well as camping equipment in good condition.

Donations for Nourish Street can be left at the Strathpine YMCA Op Shop at 130 Gympie Rd or made through their GoFund Me page here.

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