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David’s story: A place to call home

27 October 2017 Stories of hope

Michael is a chaplain at Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge.David was a long-term rough sleeper. At first he refused support. A group of persistent caseworkers were not put off by the initial refusal. So they asked again. Second time around, David knocked back the offer. The caseworkers were determined to keep asking. The cycle continued—a caseworker asked and David declined. Perseverance finally paid off when one day, David was ready to accept the offer of support.

“It’s about being there when the time is right. Striking when the iron is hot,” says Rob, Specialist Homelessness Services Operations Manager. “Having a no-strings attached approach, while being persistent when engaging someone on the street.”

David now sings the praises of these persistent caseworkers, his support network from Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge. At the moment Bec is his favourite. David says Claud and Jac, are the bee’s knees. And so are Piers and Footie. Rueben, a cleaner at Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge, will often share inspiring words with him. And Michael, Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge Chaplain, is always available for prayer and pastoral care support. Michael not only spends time one-on-one with residents, but also conducts regular church services that often include visiting members of the police and paramedics.

“God can work in a person’s life in a way no one else can. I know David is really appreciative of all the services he receives at Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge as well as the spiritual aspect,” says Michael.

Rob adds: “We have a team of people supporting someone like David to leave homelessness for good. Even the cleaner is contributing to that end.”

Located in the heart of Sydney, Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge provides emergency accommodation to individuals, like David, who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Since taking that offer of support, David’s life has turned around. Tears still well up in David’s eyes when reflecting on his journey. He now understands how important it is to accept support.

“I can’t stop smiling. I love life again,” says David. “There’s hope. And it’s real.”

Rob adds: “It’s a treat to hear David’s gratitude. To see someone so moved from encountering support.”

David now has identification. It’s easy to underestimate the practical need to have credentials when seeking out benefits, employment and housing. David also has a job. After graduating with a Certificate II in Cleaning Operations, the team at Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge helped David secure a traineeship with HopeStreet’s cleaning social enterprise. He now has a permanent position with HopeStreet. David can also maintain a budget. Through Wesley Financial Counselling, David has developed a financial plan to help support his future.

Thanks to Wesley Community Housing, a service that provides short to medium-term accommodation to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, David now has a place he can call home. And the team at Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge even supported David with furnishing his new home.

“It’s about shaping the support and accommodation to fit the person, not the other way around,” says Rob.

Connecting David to other Wesley Mission services, beyond Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge, has been key to his journey of leaving homelessness. Rob says their team will continue to support David for as long as it takes, including finding him permanent accommodation in the future.

“He knows when he moves on, that the support that began on the street and went with him into crisis accommodation, can continue to go with him,” says Rob.