On the weekend I was lucky enough to get a ticket to watch the NRL Grand Final. In pouring rain, we made our way to the stadium and it was hard to not be impressed with the precautions that had been implemented. Security guards were doing regular rounds, performing a job that people were as excited about as they are with parking officers. There was one security guard who was an exception though, his energy was infectious as he made his rounds. He came over to us, stopped, and briefly lifted up his mask to reveal a smile that I reckon stopped the rain momentarily. Wow! I recognised this man. Just a year ago he was a regular at Kings Cross. A man who fled to our shores seeking asylum after his family was brutally murdered. His visa status, like most in his situation, had him on the brink. The love and care that he was shown helped him cross over from despair to life, long enough for him to win his battle for a permanent visa. Our Employment Pathways team helped him get a job as a security guard, and clearly, he loves it. Plenty of spectators were annoyed with this fellow and most tried to ignore him as he went about his “menial task”, yet for those with eyes to see, this was the happiest and most successful man I’ve met in a long time
The meeting with the security guard was the kind of event that was more thrilling than the game. On-board the train home, satisfied with my wonderful night, I sat next to another face that I recognised. We chatted about the game and eventually, I asked her where she was headed. “Oh, this is my home for the night, Jon.” She then told me about some of the complications facing a woman who sleeps on a train. She told about people who speak too loudly and the need to sleep with one eye open. Suddenly, I took the hint, bade her a good night and left her to rest.
It’s a cold week, thank you to everyone who has walked in support of our Long Walk Home, it has been a pleasure to see those high-vis shirts taking over my news feed. A big shout-out to those who have walked through the wind and rain. Experiencing that feeling truly puts you in the shoes of people experiencing homelessness who don’t get to choose the weather they endure when they are living on our streets. To all our walkers, every step you take gets us closer to a place where no one has to sleep on trains, ever. Many look for love in warm embraces and mood music but love has been clearly demonstrated this week in thousands of steps made by people whose feet moved for the sake of people they’ve never met. Good luck with the rest of your week of walking, wrapping up this Sunday, 1 November.
Thanks for being a part of the Inner Circle,