Giving Back to the Community

Josh has experienced homelessness on-and-off since he was 18 years old. Trauma and grief led Josh to begin sleeping on the streets. After his dad died while Josh was still in his teens, he couldn’t come to terms with it.

Grief-stricken, he found himself sleeping in St James Station in Sydney. He found himself hoping that it was all a mistake, and that his father would still be alive and he would catch his dad on the way to work. Josh needed help, but he couldn’t even communicate what he was feeling.

To numb the pain, Josh’s mates offered him heroin. He became addicted to the pain relief.

It is a misconception to say that drugs are the main reason that people become homeless. For many, it is the loss of foundation to their world – the tragic loss of a family member or friend, family breakdown, domestic violence and many other reasons can lead someone to homelessness.

Josh came to Wayside Chapel, using the facilities for a shower and clean clothes. He began sleeping on the doorstep, as it was a place that he felt safe.

A turning point in Josh’s life came during an interaction with his close friend, an Aboriginal man known as Uncle Cutty Cutty, who has since passed away. Uncle Cutty Cutty was also a Wayside visitor, they formed a close bond. One day when a passing stranger gave Josh $50, Josh was determined to use it to score drugs. But when walking off, he looked back to see his friend Uncle Cutty Cutty with heavy tears running down his cheeks. He realised that his friend cared for him more than he’d ever known. From then on, Josh decided to get clean. This moment changed everything. Josh began to engage with Wayside’s staff and volunteers more. He wanted to give back and contribute. He would sleep at the front door, waiting for new ways to engage with people and give back to those who had helped him. Josh began wanting to help other people sleeping rough. He would go around with a big bag of blankets, handing them out to rough sleepers, even if it meant he had nothing for himself.

Josh is now housed and continues to volunteer and help out at community centres around Kings Cross including Wayside Chapel, the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) and Kirketon Road Centre. He is a proud part of our community.

“Wayside made me feel normal. They picked me up each day and put the pieces back together. It was like home when you can no longer go home.”

“Without Wayside, I probably wouldn’t be alive right now,”

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