The three friends, from Sheffield, want to get him a place to live for three months, buy him a suit, a haircut and even new teeth as part of a makeover to help rebuild his life.
They say they want to inspire other people to help the homeless, and believe that Andy has it in him to thrive given the chance.
“Andy really does stand out from a crowd,” said Sheffield Hallam student James Radford, 20, who set up the appeal with graduate Jordan Smith, 22, and friend Daniel Inniss, who works at Sheffield City Council. “He would rather have a conversation than a donation. He has so much untapped potential. Hopefully he will be able to move on to a new life after life on the street.”
The friends have known Andy for a number of years, and became concerned for him after he was forced on from his usual spot.
“With no family or friends to fall back on, he slipped through the net,” said Mr Radford. “He’s been living on the streets for over a year now. He doesn’t drink – he sits with a cup of tea and a crossword. He’s an absolute crossword champion, his vocabulary is astonishing. But he has no confidence. That’s held him back hugely. He’s desperate to get out of this situation.”
With support from teacher and masters student Bilal Revat, the trio hope to raise enough money to secure a new start for Andy, beginning with somewhere to live. A new suit, a haircut, and some new teeth will give him confidence, they believe. And, with the hope of a part-time job in a call centre giving guidance to others facing homelessness, they believe he can sustain it on his own.
“He really wants change,” said Mr Radford. “When we told him what we were trying to do, he was absolutely delighted. He wants to be in a position where he can help others like him.”
To support the appeal visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/new-year-new-start-for-kind-homeless-man-andy.