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Band-aids not enough to heal the wounds of homelessness

28 February 2017

From Father John

“You know Father John he never really was the same after that violent assault, which happened when he was a young man. He never got over it and he was such a gifted person in so many ways. There wasn’t the help around in those days and we did what we could. That is why I am so glad of the care he received here at the Mission in his later stage of life.”

These were the words spoken by a man at the memorial service for his brother, who was with us at the Mission for the last eight years. Tragically, that one violent event was the beginning of many other wounding events that led to his experience of being homeless.

Too often we hear of the significant and multiple traumatic events that have resulted in a person falling into the further trauma of homelessness. Research from the work of the Trauma and Homelessness Initiative, with which the Mission collaborated, found that participants reported an average number of 21 traumatic events in their lives. This is an incredible number compared to the 50 per cent of us who face a traumatic event at some point in our lives.

Wounding upon wounding, requires much long-term care and accompaniment. The work of our Mission is not about quick fixes. Complex problems, which lead into traumatic journeys into homelessness calls forth well co-ordinated and “long haul” care, drawing on all the resources and expertise we can gather.

Each day our Mission’s teams of staff and volunteers work together to confront the reality of such wounding and, often, not having clear answers to what lies before them. Their faithful and creative care demonstrates to each person, that no matter what the complexity of the trauma: “You are not alone and we will keep on walking with you”.

Over the years, I have often heard thankful responses, such as:

-“Thanks for not giving up on me.”

-“I thought you guys would say it is all too much but you didn’t and look where I am now.”

At this early stage of the new year, let us acknowledge how much goodness of heart and gifts of expertise and understanding are around us as we work together, not to put band-aids on the wounds but, to courageously address the true reality of them with faithful care for the long haul.

Thank you again for all the ways you support us and thus contribute to bringing people back into life where trauma does not have the last word.

Sacred Heart Mission acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal owners of country throughout Victoria and pays respects to them, their culture and their elders past, present and emerging.


Sacred Heart Mission believes that the diversity of abilities, genders, sexualities, relationship identities, bodies and cultures in our community enriches us all and should be celebrated. Everyone is welcome at our table.