by Helen Dwyer
HopeStreet is a community development and streetbased outreach service, working at the grass roots level of Sydney’s inner-city.
After 30 years of caring for people living on the margins in Sydney’s inner city, the Hope Street Inc. Board was faced with operational challenges in early 2014.
Through a process of consultation it was agreed that there was an opportunity for HopeStreet’s programs to be transitioned into a partnership arrangement with the Baptist Association of Churches and BaptistCare, to ensure the continuation of this vital urban mission in Sydney.
In August, HopeStreet joined the BaptistCare family under a new partnership model.
Based in Woolloomooloo, the service assists people who are in need, many who are living with homelessness, addiction, mental health and legal issues, in addition to having diminished employment opportunities.
Eighty percent of people in the Woolloomooloo area are dependent on social security payments. Some live in social housing, hostels or in crisis accommodation, but many miss out, and as a result Woolloomooloo has the highest concentration of people sleeping rough in NSW.
As well as having nowhere to sleep at night, around 75% of the homeless population experience mental illness. Some have experienced institutionalisation and childhood abuse; all live exposed to the uncertainty and insecurity of life on the streets.
The area is home to the nation’s highest population of people living with HIV. Many more struggle with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions.
Matt Young, BaptistCare HopeStreet’s Missional Services Manager, now manages the HopeStreet programs. BaptistCare HopeStreet features five core service areas, which Matt and his team will work to strengthen over the next year.
The next six to twelve months will see BaptistCare HopeStreet engaging in new partnerships, including establishing a Woolloomooloo Health Clinic with St. Vincent’s Hospital. An exciting outdoor art project collaboration featuring local talent and creative vision from the Woolloomooloo community will also take shape.
Part of the renewal and refreshment process for BaptistCare HopeStreet is identifying key areas where supporters and volunteers can help the service to maintain a Christian presence in this complex community.
“HopeStreet demonstrates faith put into action each and every day, through professional community services with people experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and vulnerability,” said Matt Young.
“Alongside of Woolloomooloo Baptist Church, together we are confident this urban mission will continue to see lives transformed as we express Christ’s love in the inner city and beyond.”
“As we work together, our goal is to grow HopeStreet into an organisation of excellence,” said Matt.
“HopeStreet is a community based team that now has the backing of a much larger, highly respected organisation in BaptistCare, and together we will be able to offer this inner city community so much more,” said Matt.
“There is a lot of work ahead of us and we would welcome BaptistCare supporters, Baptist Churches, and the wider community to join with us if they are not already on this journey,” said Matt.