Wesley Edward Eagar Centre Appeal
Did you know that the total number of Australians who are homeless has now increased to over 116,000 women, men and children every night? Lack of affordable housing, an escalation in mental illness, family violence, and the financial difficulties caused by COVID-19, are all adding to the problem. This growing challenge has lead us to redevelop our Wesley Edward Eagar Centre in Surry Hills.
Wesley Edward Eagar Centre has been part of the fabric of the inner-city community of Surry Hills since the 1970s, supporting some of the most vulnerable adults in our community. It is also a place of connection, whether it be with community or family, and will continue to offer individual, secure rooms for short-term emergency accommodation whilst supporting their next step forward.
But just as homelessness is rising, the rooms inside have become tired and old. The building is worn out, making it harder for us to help those in need. While we will preserve its heritage features, the reconfigured facility will allow us to improve the way we provide hope and dignity to people experiencing homelessness, like Zehra. Read Zehra’s story here. Dedicated spaces for triage in the building will also enable us to launch a new model of care. Clients will engage in an expert approach where a qualified staff member will assess their needs, build rapport and trust, then link them to a full range of ‘wrap-around’ support services on site – from trauma counselling to Centrelink outreach.
This major upgrade comes at a significant cost, that is why we have launched our Wesley Edward Eagar Centre appeal. A centre that will continue to provide a safe place, restore hope and dignity, all of which can go a long way to breaking the cycle of homelessness.
Please support our appeal, your generosity and help will improve how we provide dignity, strength and shelter for the growing numbers of people like Zehra experiencing homelessness each year because every life matters.
Click to read Zehra’s story
Zehra had always lived in central Sydney, and when she was just 18 she married a man who turned out to be extremely violent. Too ashamed to return to her parents, and with nowhere else to turn, she stayed in the marriage and had two children.
Zehra, former resident of Wesley Edward Eagar Centre, tried to approach her doctor about the violence she was suffering, but was only prescribed valium to calm her nerves. “The valium really blew me away emotionally,” she remembers.
After years of violent abuse, Zehra left her husband and took her two sons with her.
“I just had to do it on my own, I had no family support.”
Things temporarily improved, but she had to work 18 hour days to support her children and started using speed to keep up – the start of an addiction that would last for years. In a cruel coincidence, her addiction eventually pushed her children, the reason she took the drugs to begin with, out of her life.
Broke and alone, she had no one to turn to and nowhere to go. Zehra moved into a refuge in Haymarket, but was still at risk of theft and assault. She had a bed and roof but was far from safe.
Battered by years of abuse and the shame she felt from being homeless, it was only when Zehra came to live at Wesley Edward Eagar Centre in Surry Hills that she began to see that life could get better.
Zehra finally feels she has a safe place to live while she gets back on her feet.
“One day, when I am back on track, I will be able to look my sons in the eye again and tell them I did everything I could for them.”