Instead of asking for gifts for her 21st birthday, UNC student Leslie Moen is asking for people to donate money to her friend Steven Howser, a homeless man in Chapel Hill.
Moen started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $1,500 to help Howser make a down payment and the first month’s rent on an apartment.
Howser said he was on numerous waiting lists to apply for housing and social security.
The campaign has raised more than 50 percent of its goal and Moen said she hopes to reach the goal before Christmas.
“Small donations are really meaningful to me,” she said. “Knowing that’s coming from people who also don’t have a lot but realize that they have something to give.”
Moen said she met Howser at a community dinner last September hosted by the Wesley Campus Ministry.
She said she went over to talk to Howser because he looked lonely.
“He looked like he was angry at someone,” she said. “There’s no reason to be angry when you’re getting a free meal with a warm community that loves you.”
Moen said after talking to Howser, she knew he wasn’t mad or angry but that it just took him a little time to come out of his shell.