Christmas is coming up fast. Like most of us, that probably means you’re buying last-minute gifts, planning meals, and getting ready for a season full of love and family.
But that isn’t the Christmas all of us get to experience.
For some, Christmas is a time with no family or friends around. Where there’s no money for gifts, a tree or a lunch. A Christmas without a home to invite people to and nowhere safe to go.
That’s the kind of Christmas people experiencing homelessness will be facing. Christmas could be one of the loneliest, most isolating times of year for someone sleeping rough.
72 people who are experiencing homelessness for the very first time will come through the doors at Hutt St Centre this month needing urgent support.
That’s why Hutt St Centre is asking for donations of $40 before 25 December in their Christmas Appeal. This will help provide meals, companionship and a place to feel safe this Christmas. Donations also help provide the expert support that could help someone take their first steps out of homelessness.
With more and more people coming to Hutt St Centre for help – they need people’s generosity to do the amazing things they do for people in need this Christmas.
One of these people turning to the Hutt St Centre for help is Christopher. As COVID struck, Christopher lost his construction job. Shortly after, his marriage broke down, and he turned to alcohol to cope with his emotions. He then decided to move out of home temporarily to give his wife space and make things easier for his girls.
“I lost my job, home, and family within a few months. I was more depressed than I’ve ever been – than I ever thought possible. And I began drinking too much,” recalled Christopher.
Over two years, Christopher sunk into despair and endured the worst experiences of his life.
This year, the Hutt St Centre saw a 60% increase in demand for their services. Donations help someone like Christopher, to know they are not alone, by ensuring Hutt St Centre can always provide support to whoever walks through their doors – whenever they need them.
When entering Hutt St Centre for the very first time, Christopher remembers feeling nervous:
“It was quite confronting walking into Hutt St, but I’m glad I found the courage to. I first walked in for a good meal and a shower. But I’d had a few run-ins with people while I was sleeping rough, so I felt anxious being around people. It was hard.”
“I spoke to a counsellor, and within a week, I was connected with a case manager who helped me find my new home.”
“My new home has a bedroom for my daughters, and there’s a park across the road where we can hang out and play. It’s perfect.”
Christopher is graciously sharing his story in the hopes that he can help more people on their journey out of homelessness this Christmas.
“I am now working in construction again, I’ve landed on my feet pretty well, and I have a well-paying job. It is such a change from where I was this time last year.”
Homelessness can be lonely and isolating. And at Christmas time it’s even harder.
Please donate to the Hutt St Centre Christmas Appeal to give meals, a place to feel safe and specialised support to someone experiencing homelessness this holiday season.