Young mum LJ offering home and job to homeless person
The death of a homeless man in Belfast this week has prompted a big-hearted woman to launch a mercy mission to help others sleeping rough on the streets.
Louise Jane McCandless from Donacloney - known as LJ - was also determined to rescue one homeless person last night and offer them not just a place to live, but also a job in the beauty salon she owns.
The single mum-of-three spent a few hours on the streets of Belfast distributing clothes and food to people sleeping rough.
LJ said she was horrified to hear about the man in his 30s found dead on Sunday morning after sleeping on the streets.
She said: "The fact that people are being taken away in body bags and nothing is being done about it is a disgrace.
"When I heard about that man dying it really affected me, and I just wanted to do something to help. I've been collecting food and clothes all week and there are a lot of people out there who also want to help.
"Local politicians are doing nothing about this - it can't go on like that.
"I am determined to do what I can to help and to keep the issue of homelessness in the public eye until something is done to help these people.
"Most of them are just down on their luck and need a helping hand.
"I think it is a disgrace in this day and age that people are being forced to sleep in the streets in zero temperatures."
LJ (32), a mum to Macauley (7) Poppy (5) and Holly (2), runs her own beauty salon, The Tan Stand in Banbridge.
She has an apartment attached to the salon, which she is prepared to offer to a homeless person, along with a job.
It is not the first time she has helped out the homeless, opening her door to someone several years ago who now, thanks to her help, has been able to turn his life around and gone on to start his own business.
And last Christmas two of her young children touched the heart of another homeless man when they insisted on giving him their pocket money.
She said: "The poor man was in tears. He was homeless because he had been made redundant. My kids asked could they give him their money, which they had to shop with, and they happily gave him everything they had, which was £20.
"I don't know how politicians can go out for their lunches and dinners and coffee mornings while ignoring homeless people.
"I just want to do whatever I can to help."