Heartbreaking truth behind photo of smiling Aussie family

The tragic situation has led to one caring local resident initiating some community help for the family.

A heartbroken man is grappling with the sudden loss of his partner and having to raise their baby on his own amid extreme financial struggles.

Craig found himself homeless and alone after just moving to the NSW north coast town of Ballina. He shared his desperate plight on social media as a "call for help" according to one local who reached out.

"When he rang I said 'what do you need?', and he simply said, 'someone to talk to'," Ballina man Mark Ross told Yahoo News Australia.

A smiling photo of Craig, April who passed away last week, and their 18-month-old son, George.
Craig, homeless and grieving the sudden loss of his partner April, is now grappling with how to raise their 18-month son George by himself. Source: GoFundMe

Having met his partner April in Sydney on George Street four years ago, the couple named their son after the street. "She was the love of his life, and baby George is beautiful," Mark said.

Describing her passing as unexpected, he explained how the family of three all went to bed one night last week, only for April to not wake up in the morning.

"There was no noise and the baby was sleeping next to her," he said. "He tried to wake her up in the morning and couldn't." Craig will find out April's cause of death on Friday but is being told it was a medical episode.

Craig 'overwhelmed' by help of community

Having only moved together from Tweed Heads two weeks ago, Craig is new to Ballina and doesn't know anyone. But that hasn't stopped the community from reaching out, whether it's people or restaurants offering to cook meals, donating items or even offering to babysit George.

"He's overwhelmed [by the support]," he said. "He was nearly in tears this morning after I gave him all the items that people donated yesterday."

Craig has been set up in temporary accomodation by the Department of Housing at a motel in Ballina and will be moving back to South Australia where he has family.

"He hasn't really had much to do with his family for the last 30 years, but because of whats happened, he's reached out to them," he said.

Mark has also set up a GoFundMe to help ease the pressures on Craig of raising a child as a single parent and with "anything he needs going forward". The fundraiser has currently raised $920 of the $5,000 target.

With many Australians struggling with the cost-of-living and housing crisis, homelessness and sleeping rough figures are grim. In Australia, over 122,000 people experience homelessness per night, according to Mission Australia, with domestic and family violence being one of the main causes.

In NSW, the number of people in temporary lodgings has increased by 542.8 per cent, according to 2021 Census data released this year. Despite there being a general decrease in homelessness numbers, the Mid North Coast of NSW saw a 25.9 per cent increase, according to Homelessness NSW.

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