The Indigenous Hospitality House has launched its first appeal asking for help to provide low-cost accommodation for regional and rural Indigenous people visiting Melbourne for medical reasons or to support a family member in hospital.
The appeal, launched during Reconciliation Week, aims to fill a financial gap after a local hospital ended its annual $15,000 donation.
Since its inception in 2001, the Indigenous Hospitality House has been a temporary home to more than 2000 Indigenous people, with more than 100 guests visiting each year.
Depending on the need being met, guests pay a nominal amount and can stay overnight or for more protracted periods.
IHH is a permanent home to seven young Christians, who pay discounted rent in exchange for volunteering their time to cook, clean and otherwise provide hospitality for guests.
Katecia (Teash) Taylor, 24, is one of the permanent residents who splits her time between studying for a Masters of Divinity at Whitley College and volunteering in the house.
Teash says people can see the word “hospitality” and assume it’s a one-way thing, but that’s not the case.
“People will say ‘that’s so nice what you’re doing’, but I don’t think it fits, we are shown so much hospitality back,” she says.
For example, two guests recently spent 36 hours cooking a traditional rabbit stew for all of the residents.
“There is space for reciprocity, which I think is unique in what we’re doing,” Teash says.
“We’re not offering a service exactly, we’re just opening a home, so it allows for that reciprocal relationship where reconciliation can happen.”
The inner Melbourne Drummond St property is owned by the UCA Church of All Nations in Carlton.
The idea for the house emerged from a Bible study asking: “What does it mean to live on stolen land, and how should we respond to that as Christians?”
If you’d like to donate to the Indigenous Hospitality House’s Reconciliation Week Appeal, visit https://mailchi.mp/7b2a895e9c56/ihh-reconciliation-week-appeal.