So often, we define people by what they have rather than what they do. Just because someone is homeless, it doesn’t mean they won’t have a job, an education, or hope for the future.

For us, truly ending homelessness starts with genuinely loving, serving and valuing people around us.

We can all do that.

We often label people as “homeless”, “vulnerable” or “unemployed”. What we don’t realise is that we are unintentionally devaluing people around us. Unless we change our culture from one of devaluing some of us because of their circumstance to one of valuing all people, we will never truly address homelessness.

Our hope is that we will see that every person, no matter their past or present circumstance, has value. Every person has worth. Every person has a hidden potential.

And by basing everything we do on Jesus’ example of loving, serving and valuing people around us, we want to build the basis of action which we believe can end homelessness in Scotland once and for all.

As part of #WorldHomelessnessWeek (9 – 15 October 2017) we have launched our #HomelessNotHopeless campaign where we’ve shared stories from people who have been helped and supported by our services across Scotland. These are real stories of finding hope amidst hopeless circumstances.

Read Joe’s story below and find out how supporting our campaign and sharing stories like his can help us change attitudes about homelessness and bring about positive change in Scotland.

Keep checking in on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels to find out more.

 

Read Joe’s story

Joe had a hard time growing up. He learned very quickly that he couldn’t trust anyone in his life, and this affected how he formed relationships, particularly at school. As a result, Joe ended up drinking heavily and doing drugs as a way to deal with the fact that he didn’t like who he was as an individual. Joe also got on the wrong side of the law and ended up on every possible court order and eventually sent to prison six times. Whilst in prison, Joe was introduced to heroin. Joe’s heroin usage soon became out of control, with him overdosing over 30 times. Joe recalls how he has woken up in several different kinds of places – alleyways, people’s gardens and in hospital beds.

Joe’s life turned around when he met a Bethany support worker. “I was really moved by the love and genuineness I found in the folk from Bethany. They helped me tear down my barriers that were preventing me from moving on positively, and they helped me grow in trust and confidence.”

Joe stayed at the centre for 2 ½ years where he saw himself undergo drastic change and personal transformation. While the courts and the system treated Joe like a lost cause, Joe says that Bethany offered to give him further chances.

Bethany never gave up on me and offered to give me a second chance. They believed that I was worth it.

Today, Joe no longer turns to alcohol and drugs to deal with life’s ups and downs and is living in his own flat in Oxgangs in Edinburgh. He is involved in his local church and has paid work at a social care organisation.

The most important thing I have learned through all of this is that there is no life outside of Christ. Today, I can experience a life of freedom.