You may already know that we help people to host those seeking sanctuary in the Thames Valley who are at very real risk of homelessness. But what does a day ‘on the job’ involve for Elaine Savage, our Service Coordinator?
Here Elaine describes a few of the things that can crop up, and why she feels moved by what she sees on a daily basis:
One of the things I absolutely love about this job is that there is no two days the same! I also love that it is not a desk job that is distant and far removed from the people you are set out to make a difference for. Every day I meet some of the most hospitable, generous and brave-hearted individuals on the planet, combined with some of the most courageous, strong and inspiring people I will ever know.
I often get to meet up with guests throughout their stay. This could involved anything from a catch up, to writing advocacy letters or celebrating a positive asylum decision. This morning, I get to meet a lady for coffee and we reflect over how much has changed since we first met. She shares honestly the daily struggle living in constant uncertainty, fear and destitution but she still dares to dream for the future. This woman is a fighter and has overcome much, and still has hope! This is one of the reasons I am a believer in hosting. I see the tangible change and impact it has on peoples circumstances and whole demeanour for the better. There is nothing else like it!
The non-glamorous but nevertheless vital part of service coordination awaits; of emails and calls before rushing off to another city to meet a new guest who applied for hosting yesterday. She is in need of a safe place to stay from tomorrow night. We will meet her first and then introduce her to a couple willing to host in such emergencies. We meet a lady who has been treated inhumanely by those close to her; movements controlled, not allowed out the house, ID taken off her and abused. Mid-interview we ask ‘do you have any questions for us?’ She (comes out with), ‘Do the hosts get paid or do they do this for free?’ We explain all hosts and supporter workers are volunteers. She (replies incredulously/with surprise); ‘Humanity still exists!’ She is overcome with emotion by the unconditional kindness of strangers.’ We take a few moments before we continue.
After a bus pass is bought and plans made for her arrival the next day we say goodbye. As I drive home after a long, busy and fulfilling day I am grateful for everyone who made this day possible- and hosting these two ladies possible.