Louise Lang has been working for Anglicare Victoria for over eight years and is a Team Leader for Homeless Support Services.
Can you tell us a little about your role with Anglicare Victoria?
I manage two homeless support service centres: The Lazarus Centre at St Peter’s Eastern Hill and St Mark’s Community Centre. I also oversee the emergency relief centre at Mission House in Fitzroy.
Did you have a moment when you suddenly realised how much of a difference you were making?
I don’t have one moment in particular, for me it’s more the little moments. It’s when someone that comes to a breakfast and seems a bit rough and ready, suddenly gives you a hug and a kiss on the cheek and is so grateful for a meal. That’s when you know what you are doing must be helping them, even a little bit.
What do you wish other people knew about your work?
I think people don’t understand homelessness, people are often surprised when they learn all that we do. The staff here often go above and beyond just to make a bit of a difference. People want to fit homelessness into a stereotype which does not often reflect the reality, there is a lot more to it than that. Many of these people have complex needs. There is no simple solution, we need to understand that these are fellow human beings who have a life and just need and want a bit of respect and love.
What would you tell someone about why they should get involved with Anglicare Victoria?
We really do make a difference, sometimes it’s only small and sometimes can be bigger. We do it gently, carefully and respectfully. We encourage people to make good choices rather forcing it on them, which is important if long term change is needed and not just a quick fix.
Working in the space that you do, what sorts of trends do you see?
There is definitely more visible homelessness in the city now compared to previous years. Even in the last few weeks, I can see the additional number of people we serve every morning at the homeless breakfasts. I am not sure if there is more homelessness or just more obvious homelessness, but it is very noticeable.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I spend time with my family, we are all into Scouting and I am a club leader. I also like to knit, and enjoy relaxing by the seaside at our holiday home.