A Story of Hope

“To me, Wayside is family. It’s community. It’s a place that I can come and have a laugh, where you feel loved, valued and honoured.” Josh is an Aboriginal man and his mob (ancestry) is from Wiradjuri Nation, the biggest Aboriginal nation in Australia, around Dubbo.

Josh first became homeless when he was just 13 years old, due to an unsafe, and unhappy home life. Growing up in Liverpool in the south-west of Sydney, Josh fled to Central Station and starting sleeping rough and didn’t look back.

Josh experienced homelessness on and off for 25 years. He started coming to Wayside Chapel when he was 17, so over 20 years ago.

Last year in 2018, he did a Certificate for Community Services and we wants to go to university to become a social worker. He understands what it is like for people to be in that situation of falling through the cracks

As tough as life gets, he always wants to be working towards something, a goal, trying to improve his life.

“It’s okay if you don’t feel like you can do anything, because look where I’ve been. I’ve been homeless, I’ve been through drug addiction. But I’ve now been able to go get a bit of a trade certificate in community service. Now I’m going to become a social worker.” At the inaugural Long Walk Home event in 2019, Josh was the person who blew the horn, signalling the start of the walk. He was also there at the finish line to congratulate people, and tell them what good they’ve done for Wayside Chapel. In 2020, Josh walked the virtual Long Walk Home, putting in 28km across 7 days and fundraised $21,618 for Wayside Chapel. Every dollar went straight towards supporting people experiencing homelessness.

This year, with the help of Wayside and other agencies, Josh received permanent accommodation, and now has a home he can call his own.

“But I just want to see, even if I can change people’s perception, society’s perception and break down the stigma around homelessness, then I’ve done my job as a human being.”

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