Stephen Chalmers — stranded without power in a Surrey trailer park for more than a month — is finally getting a new home, thanks to an outpouring of generosity from strangers contributing to an online fundraising campaign.
In less than a week, more than $5,000 has been raised for Chalmers to help him purchase a new trailer and move into a new park. His current trailer, according to his sister Marilyn Chase, who helped orchestrate the campaign through FundRazr.com, is too old and decrepit to be moved.
"I want to buy him a used but newer trailer that is propane certified with functioning plumbing so that he can lead a normal life and have a safe place to live with his little dog, Spaghetti," said Chase in her fundraising letter.
"Please help me raise this money so that my brother can live in peace. He is a recovering drug addict who has been five years sober and wants nothing more than a quiet place to call his own."
The Beledean Trailer Park, off King George Boulevard and 82nd Avenue, has been without power since Sept. 14, when a demolition crew accidentally knocked out the power while tearing down old cabins on the property. The cabins had allegedly become dens of drug-dealing and prostitution.
Metro newspaper reporter Kate Webb worked with Marilyn Chase to launch the FundRazr site.
"I heard from him the way he needed to escape was to get a trailer that would be accepted at another trailer park and the threshold for that was low," says Webb. "And I just said, 'Why shouldn't we help, why wouldn't I help?'"
'Why shouldn't we help, why wouldn't I help?' - Kate Webb, Metro reporter
As for Chalmers, he's shying away from all the attention, saying only that "there are a lot of generous people in Canada that have dug deep in the hearts ... and pockets."
He's hopeful that more money can still be raised and donated to the other eight people still living at Beladean Trailer Park.