It has been wonderful feeling the sun shine in recent days! We have had some lovely sunny days and the change of weather has been a very welcome relief from the terrible storms that have been disrupting our world. When life is all "sunshine and roses" we can forget those who haven't got it as good as we do, so it is significant that in recent weeks it has been Homelessness Week in Australia.
We assist many people affected by homelessness in The Salvation Army.
At our own Morley Doorways service we help people by giving them food and vouchers, assisting them in finding temporary accommodation, work with them to budget and apply for housing, but unfortunately sometimes there is still such a lack of housing that the only option available to them is to sleep in their car.
To help these people, we have paid car registrations to keep them secure.
The City of Bayswater (our local Council) and other local organisations are committed to the end of homelessness in our city - as we saw for ourselves this week as the Bayswater Local Homelessness Strategy 2021-2025 was launched (more on that later). We can all help to support and care for people affected by homelessness, by treating them with care and dignity, helping them to find hope through the resources we can share - so that we can not only help them find a house, but a home.
Homelessness in the Bible
If you want to look at homelessness from within the Bible you only have to look at the story of a man named Nehemiah, alive in the 5th Century before Christ, who stood in the midst of adversity. His people had returned to the broken-down city of Jerusalem, but even though they had shelter, it was not yet the home they needed to be safe. The walls of Jerusalem were broken and the gates that surrounded the city were on fire.
As Nehemiah heard of the plight of his people, he was broken-hearted, having compassion for his people in the circumstances they now faced. He took all his feelings of distress to God and found himself in a position where he was able to make a difference. He advocated on their behalf to King Artaxerxes and found favour in the king's eyes. He was then released with all of the resources and authority he needed to rebuild and secure Jerusalem.
Ahh, to have the resources
It’s amazing what you can do when you have the resources. Imagine if State Government leaders in Western Australia spent a little more of their bumper mining profits (in the billions of dollars) on securing further housing stock for those who don’t have a roof over their heads?
We have the opportunity to end homelessness across our nation; even in the middle of a pandemic. We must continue to generously fund mental health services, AOD treatments facilities, gambling support services, financial counselling services, tenancy support services among many other areas in order to provide the support for those who are marginalised.
My prayer is that as we are faced with the plight of the homeless, we will feel their pain, find compassion, pray to God, then advocate on their behalf in government while we help them with their daily needs. May we find favour, by the grace of God to end homelessness in our city!
Pete Brookshaw is the Senior Minister of The Salvation Army Craigieburn. He has a Bachelor of both Business and Theology and is passionate about the church being dynamic and effective in the world and creating communities of faith that are outward-focused, innovative, passionate about the lost and committed to societal change. He has been blogging since 2006 at http://www.petebrookshaw.com about leadership and faith and you can find him on:
Peter Brookshaw’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/peter-brookshaw.html