Our last blog was regarding our vision for community. The thing with vision of course is that it doesn’t become reality without determination. It doesn’t happen without righting some wrongs. It doesn’t happen without getting things that stop the vision from being a reality out of the way, and other things that are essential being brought in.
Recently we got some very sad news. Tim*, a former service user, had passed away at home, without people around him knowing or being with him. Possibly the last person he saw was Ian*, who had been meeting up with him as an AMP volunteer mentor for a few years and who, when the project wound up, decided to carry on visiting to provide at least one supportive relationship for Tim.
Hearing about Tim’s death reminded me that for so many people isolation is a stronger reality than community and that isolation steals hope and cements exclusion. This is why we have set our mission as being:
‘To create access to housing and provide supportive relationships which
eradicate homelessness and enable everyone to belong to their community;
And to journey with people as they overcome challenges and fulfill their God-given potential’
Whether it is the isolation faced by someone who leaves prison and has to start rebuilding; the isolation faced by a young person who is kicked out of home and finds themselves alone in the world; or the isolation faced by a mum who is struggling to juggle motherhood with all the other pressures of her circumstances, it needs a determined response.
Community only happens when we build it. Our mission is to build community in places where isolation and exclusion, homelessness or abuse have ground people down and created vulnerability. We know that simply giving people a property isn’t enough, so we commit to being people who stick with people, like Ian did with Tim, journeying with them as they overcome the challenges that run deeper than the absence of a home.
Oasis and Aquila were set up with a key belief – that everyone is made in God’s image. They may be messy, or broken (and we may be messy or broken), but we still reflect something of God, and we are filled with potential that is God-given. When Tim left prison he needed housing, he needed supportive relationships; most of all he needed to be belong and he needed people who would go on his journey with him. Each of us and every single person we work with need the same – without community and a sense of belonging it is very hard to fulfil our potential.
This week, whatever you are engaged in, seek to build places where people can belong, and where isolation and exclusion as well as homelessness, worklessness and abuse are stamped out. That is who we as Oasis Aquila Housing are seeking to be. Creating, Belonging, Journeying, so that homelessness may be eradicated, community built and people’s potential fulfilled.
*Names have been changed to preserve anonymity