Every day is the same. Some might be hot or cold or wet or windy, but each day for a homeless person feels the same. The boredom might be offset by concern or worry about losing your possessions or when someone wants to fight you or when your dog gets sick. Young people and old, they all face the same issues and they live from day to day and hand to mouth. This much I have discovered while spending some time travelling around with the Missionbeat van, as a volunteer.
The rest of us are all counting the days until Christmas, until we can take time off and relax with our friends and family in our homes, with the promise of a delicious meal and a glass of something sparkling. Some families are able to take the kids away for a few days, others are happy to stay closer to home.
Home – that is the word that we take for granted. Safe, secure, waterproof, comfortable - our haven. It could be shared, rented or mortgaged to the hilt, but home it is.
The homeless people David Martin so often encountered around the streets of Sydney were his inspiration for starting the foundation; he wanted to give young people some hope. The youth programs we support help many young people change their lives, but they are the lucky ones to have been given that opportunity. There are hundreds more living on the street.
This is my New Year’s resolution; to look every ‘rough sleeper’ in the eye and if appropriate to say hello. To ask if there is something they need or if I can help in some way. To share what I am able to, even if it to just spend a few minutes having a chat.
I suspect that I will discover, as my father also did, that there are connections to be made and stories to hear. Even if I can’t offer them shelter, I can acknowledge them as a person and recognise the struggles they face every day on the street.
To our donors and supporters, a happy and safe Christmas.