“DINE OUT… HELP OUT” FROM 11TH NOV – 31ST DEC

“DINE OUT… HELP OUT” FROM 11TH NOV – 31ST DEC

For the six weeks in the lead-up to Christmas, StreetSmart partners with restaurants to ask diners to make a small donation to StreetSmart on their bill. Every table is asked to add $2 or more to their bill, not even the price of a coffee or mineral water. It’s a simple idea that adds up to a big impact on the lives of people who are homeless.

So when you are planning a night out think about taking a simple action and book at a StreetSmart participating restaurant. While you are there encourage your fellow diners to dig deep and leave your donation on your bill. Be it meeting up with friends, family or an office or business function we need you to get involved.

Find a restaurant.

So you need that smart cuckoo clock for Christmas, do you?

So you need that smart cuckoo clock for Christmas, do you?
Christmas permits the global bullshit industry to recruit the values with which so many of us would like the festival to be invested – love, warmth, a community of spirit – to the sole end of selling things that no one needs or even wants….

Are we so bored, so affectless, that we need to receive this junk to ignite one last spark of hedonic satisfaction?

It’s not about the drugs. It’s about the social environment in which we live.

It’s not about the drugs. It’s about the social environment in which we live.
An interesting study done on drug use (in rats) indicates that drug addiction is a situation that arises from poor socioeconomic conditions.  Asking the question:

Perhaps it’s time the war on drugs becomes a war on the existence of poverty? (edit: Poverty of our relationships to family, community, and nation too, not merely monetary. As commenters have pointed out, there are plenty of people who have plenty of money who may well be the most poverty-ridden in other respects.)

Conscience on Collins 2013: “I have a dream…”

Last month Urban Seed teamed up with Collins Street Baptist Church to put on the annual Conscience on Collins. Over 300 people came out to hear Adam Bandt (Melbourne MP), Jessie Taylor (Barrister & Refugee Advocate) and Father Bob (Activist & Larrikin Priest) tell us their dreams for this city and society. So compelling were the speeches, that they inspired many other dreams as well. Like this one:Well I have a dream. My dream is that I don’t have to come to Credo for food, but that I can come when I want, and I can give money to Credo.

These were the words of Sash, one of our two female members of Credo Team. She is also part of the Credo Women’s Space project. Sash is studying a business degree, and aims to start her own business. She is also a talented visual artist. Sash was busy catering for Conscience on Collins, along with the rest of Credo Team, who are all members of the community that shares food and life in Credo Café.

Sash has a dream of finding her feet so that she is not dependent on Credo Café, but can give back to it. But what Sash may not realise is that without her, Credo would not be the place that it is. Sash is an invaluable contributor to Credo Team, which prepared and served delicious food for our 300+ guests at Conscience on Collins. Sash also blesses us with her inspiring artwork, and has offered invaluable assistance in the Urban Seed office. It will be great when she does have a choice as to whether or not to eat in Credo Café, but she already gives in so many ways.

Thank you to everybody who made Conscience on Collins such a fabulous event.

 

Thanks Fairhills High School Year 9 Project Team!

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Fairhills High School Year 9 Project team (Jaimie, Tia, Ben, Kyle and Trent) organised a goods collection for us at Urban Seed.  They did a letter box drop in their local area asking for blankets, clothes etc that could be donated for the homeless.  They then went around to collected the goods.  All up they collected 5 bags full!  Which they then lugged on the train from Knox all the way into the city to hand over the donations! What legends!  Thanks guys for your support!

The agro beggar who called me a c bomb…

I’d just finished work, it had been a big day.  I’d spent the last hour talking with a drunk lady in the laneway who needed help moving and finding a new place to stay.
I was walking up Bourke St on my way home via some bookshops when a beggar stopped me and asked for money. He said he needed some money to so he could a find place to stay that night.

I have a rather bad habit of not carrying any cash.  I said “Sorry I don’t have anything on me.”  For some reason I always want to show beggars my wallet to make them realise I’m not lying.

The man looked at me and said quite accusingly, “Yes you do.  You just don’t want to.  You and I both know that you could walk to an ATM and get out money right now.  You just don’t want to.”  He was right.

I remembered this man from  a few days ago, I had given him $10 for the same reason.  I fumbled out this explanation, but this did not satisfy him.  “It’s people like you that make people like me steal and mug people.  I don’t know how you sleep at night.”  He was getting angrier and angrier by the minute.  At this point I decided the best option was for me to keep walking.  I said, “Look. Sorry, I just don’t have any cash on me.  Good luck.”  and continued to walk up the street, and ducked in to the bookshop I was going to.  He continued to yell at me.  The last thing I heard him call out to me was the C bomb…it rang out in my ears.

I felt pretty crap.  He was so agro and aggressive.  He was right I could get out money and probably not even notice that I’d given him some.  This experience was such a contrast to the one I’d just had with the lady in the laneway.  She was very appreciative and not demanding and not wanting to impose on anyone.

Homeless people are people.  Just as some people are nice and others not so…

Could you blame this man’s agro?  He’d probably been asking for money all day (or months for that matter) and had the same answer from anyone.  He would of been frustrated watching people say they have no money then go and buy  food or go into nice book shops like I did.  People saying they have no money, but wearing nice clothes and holding nice bags.

 

White Ribbon Day

Speaking up against violence can be tricky and varies depending on the situation.

To show you are against violence, you can:

Make your concern known. “Hey mate, that’s sexist and I don’t think it’s funny.” “I think those words are really hurtful.” Refrain from laughing when you’re expected to.

Personalise the violence or injustice. Bring it home. “What if that was your sister / daughter / mother?” “I hope no one ever talks about you like that.”

Remind him that she has feelings and rights. “Just like your mum or your sister, she has the right to be treated with respect.”

Ask for an explanation. “What are you doing?” “What are you saying?”

Remind him of his ‘best self’. “Come on mate, you are better than that.”

Use your friendship. “Hey mate… as your friend I’ve gotta tell you that getting a girl drunk to have sex with her isn’t cool, and could get you in a lot of trouble. Don’t do it.”

Invite group pressure. “I don’t feel good about this. Does anyone else feel uncomfortable too?”

Take action and join the campaign : White Ribbon

No one will help me.

A man walked into my office last week.  Dirty, smelly and looking sad.  He asked if someone could help him find somewhere to stay.  
I made a phone call to our main office to see if I could find someone who was available to chat with this man.

(Why didn’t I help him?  To be honest I didn’t really know where to start, and I knew that someone else at Urban Seed would know what to do.  As my main task is education about homelessness to school kids, I don’t know much about on the ground work).

It was going to be awhile till someone could chat to him.  He started to cry and said, that “no one wants to help you when you’re homeless.  Look at me, I’m dirty.  I can’t even get clean clothes.  I’ve tried to kill myself…” he said, showing me his wrist.  He continued, “I’ve been in hospital and they don’t wont to help me, they just kick you out. No one will help me.”

I’m not sure I dealt with this man the best I could.  I was a bit taken a back.  It was confronting and I felt helpless.  I also felt a little unsure of the situation, as it was just me and him alone in my office.

I asked if he knew where Credo was? If he went over there someone would be able to help him, and he could get some food.  He said he couldn’t walk and could hardly breathe.  I asked if he wanted to sit down on our couches and have a rest and he said “no, no I can’t.  I can’t breathe.”

I made another call back to our main office to see if someone could come over and chat with him.  He was clearly distressed and not able to go over there.  Stu – one of our residents, would be over soon.

I told him, “Someone will be here soon, with some food and they will be able to help you.”

He continued to get worked up and say no one wanted to help. “I’ve been sleeping in a stair well and in a building site.  Look me!…” Eventually he said “I’m going for a walk I’ll come back.”  And then he just disappeared out into the cold wet Melbourne spring day.

He left as I was meeting some students who wanted to interview me about the work Urban Seed does.  A few mins later Stu showed up, with some food ready to help.  But the man was gone. Stu left the food.  And we agreed I’d call Stu if he came back.

Half way through the interview I was doing with the students we saw him walk past.  I ran out to see if I could get him to stop, but by the time I got to the door he was half way up the street and holing a 4 pack of Jack Daniels and coke.  Could you blame him?  It was raining.  He was covered in mud.  He was in pain.  Distressed, upset and just wanted someone to help him.  Jack seemed to be the only one willing to.

At this point I’d written off ever seeing him again.  And was wondering if I and what I could have done to help.

Half an hour later he appeared.  I promptly gave him the food – spaghetti carbonara.  And took him to our couches and said “you have a rest here, and I’ll call Stu to come and have a chat with you.”

He ate a few mouthfuls of the spaghetti carbonara.  And then said he can’t eat, “I can’t breathe properly.  I’ve been coughing up blood.  I’ve got lung cancer.  Do you think I’ve got lung cancer?” He then asked if I could turn the lights out so he could sleep, and then asked me to wake him at 3pm.  So I left him in the dark, and went back to work.

Stu showed up.  He chatted with the man, made some calls, and generally made the guy feel at ease.  I was impressed by his ability to chat with this man face to face and treat him just like a friend.

Stu was unable to find him anywhere to stay that night.  He found one place but the man was not willing to stay there.  He said it was full of drug users it made him feel unsafe.  It’s saying something when a man appears in your office in tears wanting help for somewhere to stay the night, but then turns down the only place available.  The rain and building site were a safer bedroom for him than the so called refuge.  

I went home that night (it was cold and wet) to my home, to my bed, TV, couch and nice things.  And I was thinking of this man and where he would go and what he would do.  The last thing he said to me was, “you are lucky you have a home.  You don’t know how lucky you are.”