Even after 14 years at Sacred Heart Mission, Annie still feels exhilaration every time she hears her team has helped another person escape the cycle of homelessness.
“Seeing the great work the Mission does for the people we work with is what has kept me here for such a long time,” Annie says.
“My favourite thing is when my team shares positive stories about people moving into their new home, that’s what it is all about.
“Or people being able to go to a shop with a voucher and buy something they want for their house that will make it feel like a home, or seeing photos of how people have set up their homes with things that have been purchased for them, or hearing about how someone has independently been able to address a problem with their tenancy.”
Annie, who now manages the GreenLight program and HEART initiative, explains Phil, who has been sleeping rough for several years, came into contact with Sacred Heart Mission’s workers through the Hotel Emergency Accommodation Response Team (HEART) initiative, set up in the height of the pandemic to accommodate people in hotels who were previously sleeping rough.
“Phil was lucky to be offered his long-term housing and because of the work that GreenLight do, we were able to continue working with him by supporting him as he moved into his new property.
“The majority of the people we work with have long histories of homelessness and therefore have very little, only what they can carry with them,” Annie says.
“When they finally access long-term housing, they rarely have anything to make that house a home. This is one of the biggest issues. Who wants to live in an empty shell?
“Many of the people accommodated in hotels have not had any housing in years. Phil was one of these people. After six months in a hotel room, he was offered long-term housing where we were able to continue to support him.
When some of the most vulnerable people in our community finally get access to a new house, in order to make that property feel like a home we are helping them with all the essentials: a bed, couch, washing machine and plants, to add to that feeling of ‘welcome’ – through our ‘Make a House a Home’ fund.
“For us, having access to the ‘Make a House a Home’ fund is super important. When people move in they can set it up how they want to, giving them a better chance of succeeding.
“The Make a House a Home fund is such a pivotal part of the work we do. Imagine moving into a new house and having nothing – would you really want to stay there?”
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