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Andy and Tanya: A matter of trust

9 October 2019 Stories of hope

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Every day, Andy and Tanya do all they can to help the people they serve leave homelessness for good.

Tanya is a Site and Operations at Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge, emergency accommodation for those experiencing homelessness located in the heart of Sydney. She oversees the 24/7 operations, building maintenance and welfare of her staff.

Andy, Program and Practice Manager at Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge is responsible for all the care and support needs of those who walk through our doors. He also oversees a small team of caseworkers who provide specialised support to people living at Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge and in many cases for considerable periods after they leave.

People come to Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge because there is nowhere else for them to go. “They suffer poverty and social isolation,” said Tanya.

Many who come to Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge also experience difficulties with mental health, some quite debilitating. Almost all are impacted by cumulative episodes of trauma—certainly experienced upon and since becoming homeless, but in many cases prior to becoming homeless.

“We have to be non-judgemental. Clients would see it a mile off. Confidentiality is essential. We need consent to disclose anything that is told to us in a private discussion,” said Andy.

Clients at Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge receive assistance with housing applications for housing referrals to counsellors and GPs or even hospitals for check-ups and treatment and to all kinds of other specialist services and social venues—anywhere that’s helpful in supporting forward movement, health and wellbeing.

“Wesley Mission has a ‘no wrong door policy’,” Tanya said. “That means that everyone who approaches us, whether we have vacant rooms or not, receives a service. If we’re unable to meet the need ourselves, we do our best to find somewhere that can.”

The length of stay is usually up to three months, but we don’t pull the rug out from under people. For one person a few nights is too long. For another, three months is only scratching the surface.

“We will do whatever needs to be done,” Andy said. “We are working with complex, vulnerable people who lay their souls in front of you. This is because they trust you. It’s a trust we dare not take for granted.”