“Welcome home!” is our standard family greeting when one of us has been missing for a while. It signals warmth and a sense of belonging. It may be followed by questions about what has occurred beyond the home, bringing interest and involvement in each other’s lives. Whatever type of experience it’s been, there is likely to be reassurance that there is now comfort, familiarity and a sense of normality returning, within this special place, home.
These days it doesn’t require a family to make a place ‘home’. The most dominant household size in Sydney is two people, followed by one person households (22% - 2016 Census). However, larger households have been on the increase, a reversal of previous trends, possibly signalling a lack of affordable housing for young people. Clearly home is not just about our fellow occupants, but has something to do with a sense of our place in the world. When we moved from Adelaide to Sydney, placing our treasures from the past into the new place helped it to become home. Indigenous people relate very closely to the place where they were born. People who have migrated often have a strong sense of back ‘home’, where childhood memories were created, sensory experiences were conjured and nuances of culture deeply understood.
I wonder what happens when this place of identity is forcibly and frequently changing? If we don’t own our home, we can be moved along by the owner, so we are unlikely to emotionally invest in that place and its surrounding community to the same extent. I wonder what effect lacking the nuances of ‘home’, where there is no consistent place and, in some cases, no consistent housemates, does to a person over a period of time… This is the situation of so many of our young adults today and many not so young, too.
Sydney Alliance is pushing for tens of thousands of new, low-cost, rental homes to be made available across Sydney. Lane Cove Uniting Church will be joining them to see how Lane Cove will contribute to this solution. Contact us if you would like to show your support for this initiative.
The old saying expresses it well: ‘Home is where the heart is.’ Let us be very thankful if we live in a home where we belong, experiencing familiarity, predictability and comfort. Together, let us assist others to gain this stability for their lives too.
The articles here were written by Rev Karen Paull between 2015 and 2022.