Just imagine you would wake up tomorrow morning and your landlord tells you that you need to pack your stuff and leave your flat/house immediately. What if you would lose your job from one day to the other and not being able to pay your mortgage anymore? What if you had to deal with physical/emotional/sexual abuse from your partner and you just decided to leave the situation forever?
How would you feel? What are you going to do? Calling your friends, neighbours and family members? What if they are not around? What if no one wants to host you or help you out? Where would you go?
This scenario seems so unlikely that many of us never think about it, we don’t worry about our tomorrow. It’s all save, secure and somehow it might always has been like that. We have a job, or we own the house we live in already, so nothing to worry about anyway. But just imagine for any weird reason your life would change from one day to the other, from one hour to the next? What would you do and where would you go?
Similar stories I heard, when I spent a day at the beach in Southend Victoria to help raising money for rough sleepers in the area. Homelessness is still a taboo in our society and more than often we try to avoid things we fear. Finding ourselves walking by the guy who sits on the ground with his dirty cloth and a bottle of beer in his hand. Shaking our heads because we don’t understand how he could end up like this? We are blind for the lady who runs around begging for some change as she probably only wants to buy drugs.
Where to go?
Wondering why these people not go in a homeless shelter, to the job center, council or any other stationary place where they could get support.
The problem is that there are places but our system has become so confused and complicated that no one really knows what to do. So they send the rough sleepers from one place to the other, give them appointments in 2 weeks time and don’t offer any emergency plan. That is why these people end up on the street without any help from others. Often there is alcohol and other drugs involved because many of them were faced with traumatic experiences in the past which brought them to a point of real desperation.
In this case a homeless shelter is not enough for someone who lost himself/herself in drug addiction. These people need therapy, time to heal, time to be supported, looked after and furthermore someone who really cares.
Homelessness is not only something we should be sorry for but furthermore it is an experience no one ever should go through. The home is where the heart is but our automated system has no heart. There is no compassion and no time to listen to individual stories that needs to be told if they want to be released. Sleeping rough is uncomfortable, cold in winter, leaves you hungry but also it makes you feel unworthy, separated from rest of society and lonely.
Even I experienced the ignorance of some people who were not even interested to take a flyer we tried to spread around. I wonder in what times we live in if charity is a word that we are already sick of? Everyone just wants our money we think and turn our back around.
Our system has failed with its anonymity. But it also made us less responsible as we do believe that the system will fix problems we don’t want to be confronted with. But money does not solve every problem, especially when the so-called helping hand is hidden behind tonnes of forms and paperwork. And still we hold on to the system, trust it and call it save, just because we never ever have been in the situation in which we need help immediately.
Light at the end of the tunnel
But there is light at the end of the tunnel and this light is called YOU and ME. We all have the ability to make a difference to someone else life. It’s not about the money it’s about compassion, the will to help and to be there for each other.
I spent the day at the beach in Southend Victoria with people who do want to fill the gap, the lack of the system. People who give their time, their energy and their heart to make a difference in other people’s life.
The Warrior Soup Kitchen in Southend is a non profitable group which provides hot food, drinks to the homeless in their town twice a week. In addition to that they give out toiletries, warm clothes, sleeping bags, hugs, offer shoulders to lean on and more than often an open ear for everyone who is in need. All founded out of the pocket of the volunteers without any support from the government so far.
Therefore it is even more important that everyone sticks together, we are all in the same boat. We all live on this planet and we all deserve a shelter and compassion no matter what. If you live near Southend and you want to donate things, money or your time to help that great folks making a difference just watch out for the Warrior Soup Kitchen. Or join their group on Facebook here…
This might be an inspiration for everyone out there, a reminder that every little penny counts, every hour is worthy, everyone has equal rights and we all should make each other aware of that.
I really would like to thank everyone who took part in the awareness event on the beach in Southend, everyone who put some change in the buckets, everyone who showed up and made us believe that there are people who do care.
I am so glad I met so many lovely people with such big hearts and all the rough sleepers that opened up and shared their stories with me. I give you a big hug and see you soon!!! Loads of love, Julie
Impressions from Warrior Soup Kitchen awareness event – rough sleeping on the beach: