Millionaire gives money to homeless in TV show
A property tycoon from Kent has talked about appearing on a TV programme on wealthy benefactors who want to change the lives of others for the better.
Daniel Smith, from Wilmington, near Dartford, is on Channel 4’s hit show The Secret Millionaire on Tuesday.
He contacted the show after an eye-opening two hours with a homeless girl in London’s Soho, listening to her terrifying story.
Mr Smith then spent 10 days undercover with the homeless and deprived around the Elephant and Castle area of the capital before handing over cash to those he believed deserved the most help.
He told KOS Media: “I was horrified at the way some people live.
“There are always going to be people who don’t want to live what many consider a normal life, by staying on the streets, and I met some who had lived that way for 30 years and had no intention of changing.
"But for every one of those, there are many more who are desperate to get back on the rails and those are the people I wanted to help.
“What is shocking though is the sheer scale of the problem. Government must do more to help these people. They often find themselves in positions of complete helplessness because there isn’t any help for them.”
Hostels are all very well, but they have no chance of helping all those who need it, said the 26-year-old. And many who do have some sort of shelter find they are worse than slums.
Mr Smith said: “What sort of country can let their people live like this? It is like there is another London inside London, away from all the bright lights.
“I had no idea how bad it was until I lived with these people for 10 days. Some people have no access to water, let alone hot water, and of course no goodies like televisions.”
The philanthropist helped turn his family business around from the age of 15 and now owns several residential and commercial properties as well as a storage business. He became a millionaire at 23.
He said: “My interest in this started when I got talking to a homeless girl last year. I bought her breakfast and we chatted for a couple of hours about her life. I decided then that I wanted to do something and was already aware of the Channel 4 show.
“I was delighted when they gave me a chance to do a little something and give someone a chance to make a better life.
“What does upset me is that I can’t help everyone – that really is a matter for government, no matter which colour it is.”
A Channel 4 spokesman said: “Daniel was brilliant and was upset that he could not help everyone he met – that is always the hardest part of this show.”