Homeless Man Breaks Into Tears After Strangers Give Him $17,000 For A House
A homeless man in Connecticut was overcome with emotion after finding out strangers online had raised $17,000 to put a roof over his head.
Phillip Vu, 24, was travelling around the country and living out of his car when he met Mike, 46. He offered to wash his car windows, which Phillip initially declined – however, after seeing him outside alone, he bought him a sandwich and they soon ended up becoming friends.
Just more than two months later, Phillip managed to rally together a bunch of people online to put their money to good use. Now, Mike has enough cash to avoid sleeping rough for at least a year.
Phillip, from Newport Beach, California, said: ‘That was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life. When I set off on this journey eight months ago when I left home to live out my car and make videos, years in the future my dream was to give a person who deserves it a lump sum of money and change their life.’
He added: ‘I never could’ve imagined only eight months later I would have achieved that. We can fix homeless in the US because a life was changed with just $17,000 – we can make a difference in these peoples lives.’
Mike lost his father when he was young, and is no longer in contact with his wider family. He’s also been to prison a few times, but it’s unclear why.
Phillip said: ‘I thought we were two sides from a different coin. We both came from struggling backgrounds and at some point I decided to reconnect with my family and he didn’t – we saw commonalities until that split.’
He added: ‘I was like living my dreams, and he told me his dream was to go travelling one day. He’s been fending for his life and trying to support his girlfriend and I’m living out my car for leisure… he is such a lovely, hard-working human being and I want to humanise him.’
Phillip had been filming some of their conversations for his TikTok account, racking up millions of views. ‘I never thought any of these videos would get that much traction. I didn’t think it would be more than me helping him out, having a conversation, getting to know him. I just wanted to document a video of me and Mike hanging out and sharing an experience,’ he said.
On February 2 this year, he set up a GoFundMe for Mike, after people enquiring how they could donate. Within two days, it surged to $10,000, and eventually reached $17,000.
In the video, filmed on Chinese New Year on February 12, Mike broke into tears when Phillip handed him a red envelope with packed with more than $1,000, then explaining how the money was raised.
Mike told him: ‘I would never thought this would happen, I ask God for just one thing, life, and he poured you into me.’ Phillip then showed him the massive fundraiser total, at which point Mike said: ‘What are you doing to me?’
Mike is currently getting his social security number and birth certificate, and has applied for low-income housing, with Phillip also requesting the help of financial advisors to assist him with the money.