Dear Inner Circle,

Did you know that one of the biggest reasons that people relapse into homelessness is hoarding? The cycle begins with suitcases which build each day until it isn’t uncommon to see a street corner furnished with bookshelves, paintings and ornaments. Attempts to make a spot look homely are often hastily whisked away in morning clean ups, and to appreciate what this means, just imagine how you would feel if someone picked up everything you own and threw it all away as if it was mere junk. I’ve seen people become suicidal after all their possessions have been thrown away. Most who have nothing, attach great importance to the little things they find in bins or pick up by the side of the road.

I was asking a dear older man recently about his plans for the future. “All I want is a place of my own that I can actually live in”. He told me how hoarding had rendered him homeless once again. He then told me how, as a young boy, he finally summoned the courage to tell someone about the abuse he was enduring from a family member. He was immediately ordered not to tell anyone and was soon kicked out of home, “I was thrown out like a piece of rubbish, that’s why I can’t bring myself to walk past anything I find on the road. I can see the beauty and value in things that others throw away”. He and I both yearn for the day when he can see the beauty and value within himself. 

A young woman told me this week how she finally, through the love she has received from Wayside, found the courage to take a risk. Love found its way into her heart through the daily warm welcomes she receives from our front desk volunteers who remember her name. It may seem like a small thing, but its importance is immeasurable. Emboldened, she called up her mum who she’d avoided for years. She told me how they both wept when they heard each other’s voice. What courage to make the call! What a mum! We cheered and celebrated this little moment together.

Yesterday I was privileged to be part of the Side by Side lunch event that Wayside held at the Bondi Pavillion to discuss issues of inequality. It was wonderful to see a great mixture of people, including ambassador Indira Naidoo interviewing Cameron Daddo and Skye Leckie talking about their experiences on the recent “Filthy Rich and Homeless” and our staff, corporate partners, and community members including visitors, parents and children all putting their heads together to come up with ideas on how to help the homeless. Together there were so many stories shared, and it was impossible not to be moved, and somehow changed.

Thank you to all who sent well wishes to me last week when I was on holidays – it was wonderful to be able to drive down to Melbourne to visit family. Nothing quite restores the soul like a quick trip to see family, but it is wonderful to be back by the Wayside. 

Thank you for being our Inner Circle, 

Jon

Jon Owen
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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