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Former homeless man honoured by Brisbane city

Grant Richards

Award winner: Grant Richards, pictured with Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and Lady Mayoress Anne Quirk, receiving a Lord Mayor’s Australia Day honour. Photo: Brisbane City Council

BRISBANE city’s mayor honoured Catholic community awards recipient and former homeless man Grant Richards on Australia Day.

Mr Richards received one of 15 honours from Lord Mayor Graham Quirk for his work with the city’s homeless.

Known as “Grant – The Polite Guy”, Mr Richards began working with the city’s suffering when he lost his home and family for 18 months following a freak stairwell accident.

He took up a job selling The Biggest Issue and began chatting with other homeless with a pie and Coke.

“I saw good people hitting hard times being homeless and started to help,” he said.

The day after receiving the Lord Mayor’s award, Mr Richards was back on the streets selling The Big Issue to help more homeless.

“I’m just doing my bit to help,” he said.

Mr Richards is speaking with the Brisbane City Council to source a unit that can be leased out for free and be used as a soup kitchen for the homeless.

He has been working with a retail food supplier Ivory Kitchen since December with plans to feed homeless people for free and offer employment training.

Ivory Kitchen owner Winston Cheng read a story on Mr Richards in The Catholic Leader last year and offered to help by donating food packs to give to the homeless.

Since beginning their partnership last year, Mr Cheng has also helped Mr Richards set up a website for his charity, Signal Flare, to help fund more projects for the homeless.

“We set up a website for him so that he can get constant funds, instead of having to ask people all the time,” Mr Cheng said.

Donations to Mr Richard’s work can be made at 

Mr Richards took out the Community Leader of the Year award commissioned by The Catholic Leader last year.

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