On June 17, Cana hosted a Family Open Day at its new farm in Orchard Hills. Cana Farm is a retreat and training centre. “We continue to be supported by TAFE in a way that is totally immeasurable,” Cana’s Julie Sneddon said. “The staff are dedicated teachers who not only deliver classes but volunteer time and are often teaching under challenging circumstances.” The farm includes a cafe where hospitality students provided Devonshire Teas. A number of stallholders presented “gorgeous goodies from vintage clothes to jewelry” plus veggies and eggs, and Cana’s “new line of bottled oils and dressings made from the farm produce”.
Cana Communities runs an overnight accommodation service at the South Sydney Uniting Church in Waterloo where refurbishments are underway to install solar hot water and a shower. The Garden Shelter offers opportunities to volunteers who help provide a space for genuine community. “As a society, we need to be more proactive in building community and supporting each other in a constructive way,” Ms Sneddon said. “It’s about creating positive change together. I am fortunate, as with Cana we see this every day. People helping however they can, whether it be driving a bus, making coffee, building something new or just chatting with someone whose day is long and lonely.”
Rev. Graham Long is proud of what’s been achieved with the support of many Sydneysiders and generous donors. The Wayside Chapel’s new facility is providing warmth and unconditional acceptance on a daily basis. “Yesterday, I walked toward Wayside with a woman who is sleeping rough,” Mr Long shared in a recent letter to supporters and friends. “She is sleeping on concrete near the Post Office. Without showing any sense of alarm she told me that she was sharing with a bloke some months ago but that the rent he demanded turned out to have nothing to do with money and everything to do with her body. She also told me that last week, two drunk young men walked up to her sleeping place and used her as a toilet! … The good news is that our staff have helped find accommodation and she ought to be safe and warm in a week or so from now. Life on the street in winter is tough, but for a woman it’s worse than tough.”
HopeStreet-Urban Compassion was founded by the Baptist Churches of NSW and the ACT in 1984. It is a faith-based not-for-profit organisation that provides services and advocacy to support homeless and marginalised people in the inner city.
HopeStreet’s Homeless Support Coordinator works directly with people in the inner city who are experiencing homelessness, whether rough sleeping or couch surfing. Over the past five years HopeStreet has assisted over 250 people to access housing and accommodation services. “In 2011 we connected 60 people to crisis housing, long-term housing, legal services, healthcare and practical support in the areas of food, clothing and bedding and other general support needs. Over the next five years we aim to connect over 1,000 people to necessary housing, accommodation and other essential services,” said Helen Dwyer, Relationships and Communications Manager.
The Terrace is an 18-month semi-supported accommodation program that transitions men from homelessness to independent living. The Terrace offers the men dignity and respect, as well as a stable home environment, personal support and time to break the cycle of homelessness. Casework, a living skills program and participation in the house community help develop the skills and attitudes which life on the street often dulls. “Over the past five years, the Terrace program has seen over 40 homeless men move into and stay in long-term housing,” Ms Dwyer said. “Over the next five years we aim to expand the program and double the number of men moving from homelessness to independent living.”