A tiny house makes a big difference for NJ man
It's a tiny house, but it has had a big impact on the life of a formerly homeless man in West long Branch.
Thanks to the kindness of volunteers at the Harleysville-based nonprofit organization, Make It Rain, Sam Dill has been given a new home and a fresh start. Dill was a former resident of Lakewood's Tent City. When the town pushed to dismantle the homeless camp in the woods, Dill's home was one of several torn down by a front-end loader.
As demolition crews moved into the area, Dill had one request: he asked police if he could watch his home being torn down. With tears in his eyes, the 72-year-old stood silently alongside local police as the tent he has previously called home was destroyed.
That was a year ago. Today, thanks to $15,000 in donations raised by Make It Rain, Dill resides in a tiny, 110 square-foot house. His new home has a bathroom, a bed and even a partial kitchen.
"Dill got the keys to his new house during a social work forum at Monmouth University where the students gave him a basket full of food for a housewarming gift," 6 ABC reported.
Make It Rain was alerted to Dill's situation after a video made by Jack Ballo who made the video of Sam watching his house in the woods being demolished - began circulating on other media sites.
"Sam is 73 years old, he doesn’t drink and he doesn’t do drugs. He’s a good guy who just wants to live a simple life. It’s sad because he belonged out there,” Ballo told Make It Rain.
In response, the organization began a campaign to raise enough money for materials to build a tiny house for Dill that would provide him shelter, especially as winter approaches. The group reached it's goal. The next will be finding a place to relocate the tiny dwelling.
"This is something special, giving somebody a new start," Dill told 6ABC.
For now, the house will remain at a state park campground until a more permanent location can be found.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor at NJ 101.5. Reach her at email@example.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.