Three times every week, John takes the train to the city to talk to people experiencing homelessness

John knows what it feels like to be in their shoes. Around 25 years ago, he spent 12 months homeless, sleeping on the streets of Sydney.

One day, he was standing on a street corner and he noticed one of his relatives; but she didn’t recognise him. He was too embarrassed to say anything. He was thin and frail, just surviving on eating food scraps.

For John, his lifeline was the Mission Australia Centre in Surry Hills, then known as Sydney City Mission’s Campbell House.

There he received the support he needed to get off the streets and pursue a life of independence.

Today, he tries to give back in every way he can, and has even included Mission Australia in his Will to continue helping people after he’s gone.

John knows that homelessness can be a very lonely and isolating experience, but says that stopping to have a simple conversation with someone can be the high point of their day.

“Talk to them like you’d talk to anyone else,” says John. “Treat them with respect, have the right attitude, talk to them nicely. That’s how I do it.
“I can’t help with practical things, but I can have a chat. And I always pray for them.”

I don’t know where I’d be without Mission Australia. Having a safe home is not something I take for granted. John

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