Shalom House, who exist to restore the lives of men and families in our community, need our prayer and support (as requested below) as they head to the Supreme Court in two weeks on Friday, 27 January 2017.
To the, Mayor, CEO & Swan Shire Councillors
My name is Peter Lyndon-James, founder and CEO of Shalom House in the Swan Valley. I am writing to request a meeting with you at Shalom to discuss the rapid growth that Shalom House is experiencing as we would really value your input in moving forward with the decisions we have to make. I have tried on many occasions personally and publicly to try to get a meeting with you but each time I have been told it would be a conflict of interest due to the current court case pending.
I am writing again to ask that you would make the time to come visit Shalom House and its operations. Shalom started by accident in July 2012, when I first started Shalom House I had no intention of starting a rehabilitation centre but rather a discipleship house where I could help men change their life. I purchased a house next to the Bandyup women’s prison and had four fellas who moved in and within 12 months it went to 12. I put an application in to the Swan Shire to change that zoning from Special Rural to Community Purpose. After lodging the application we had a number of complaints from people not wanting to have Shalom in the area. While this issue was being discussed at council level we just kept doing what we were doing and that was at changing the lives of men and their families. The house continued to grow forcing us to either build onto the existing house or look for another property so we decided to move and found a new rental, well three actually that are all joined side by side under one roof on one 10 acre property, a very unique property.
We took over the new property at 157 Park Street Henley brook, house 1, 2 and 3 and on taking over the leases for these properties we submitted another application to the Shire wanting to change the zoning to the property from Special Rural to Community Purpose. This application however unlike the first one was not allowed for public comment, the powers that be within the Swan Shire used their discretionary use to cancel our application before due process was allowed to occur and we were issued a notice saying so.
Upon receiving the notice we were forced to appeal the notice to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) and then after a long period of time we were issued a hearing date. I had tried and asked the Shire on multiple occasions if they would sit and talk with me but they continued to to say that they were not willing to meet with me until after the court case as it was a conflict of interest on their part which left us in a little bit of a pickle as we were and still are growing at a rapid rate and I really need their input on what to do.
Shalom House continued to grow to where we grew to 33 men with all the houses full. When it came to the SAT hearing day the judge deferred his judgement and did not hand it down until two to three months after the hearing. When the judgment was finally handed down it was found in our favour that the Swan Shire did have it within their power to grant us use of the property and that they could pass it as community purpose or as a use not defined. The Swan Shire was given 28 days to appeal this notice and we were awaiting their response as we were wanting to try to put all this behind us so that we could start planning with what was before us.
The Shire decided to appeal to the Supreme Court about the decision made by the SAT and currently the date for that trial is the 27 January 2017. In the meantime the Swan Shire has continued to refuse to meet with myself or visit our property to address the problem at hand (our growth) and while this is the case Shalom House has continued to grow doubling in size to now hold over 70 residents over multiple properties with an expectation that we are going to double within the next 12 months.
When taking in residents I take one out of every 20 people who apply. I honestly run the strictest rehabilitation centre in Australia and what we are doing is working at changing the lives of men and their families. When all my properties are full to capacity and I have no room to put the men who call me what do I do? Do I turn them away and say sorry I’m full when I know that every rehabilitation centre across Perth and WA is full with a three to six month waiting list? When I say I take one out of every twenty, I mean it. I only take the ones that are serious and if that person is serious then I will take him in.
I honestly respect the rules of our land, I respect the Shire and all who work in it and do not want to openly disrespect or disobey the rules that they put in place but I feel that common sense has gone out the window, we are putting policies and procedures over human life and that’s just not OK. I myself have been in their position having spent 26 years in and out of prisons, institutions and on the streets because people didn’t open the door for me when I felt I was ready, I got stuck where I was and that was jail and drugs, crime. People shouldn’t be angry at me because I’m helping people as what we are doing is working and not costing anyone anything rather the opposite. I have all my men off Centrelink and back into the working community within eight months.
I am about at capacity again with 70 men across 10 properties and am about to get another property with or without your input. Currently this is where I stand:
Park St — 34 men (3 overflow)(10 acres)
Forrest St — 24 men (10 acres)
Partridge St – 5 men
Mayfield St – 3 men
Ordsal St – 2 men
West Swan Rd – 4 men
My home – my family (10 acres)
TOTAL — 72 Men, not counting the overflow
As I am nearly at capacity again I am looking for another property that will hold 30 men. Now, I do not want to openly go against council rules and just get the property but what do I do? I have tried on multiple occasions to talk with the Shire as well as the powers that be but they continue to refuse until after the Court hearing. I would value their input into the decisions I am making but if all my houses do get full and I get a fella who is serious about turning his life around then I would like to inform you (the Shire and the powers that be) that I will not be turning him away but rather getting another house. I will not be putting policies and procedures over human life.
I have tried my best to be as transparent as possible throughout all this process, I have been honest, accountable and transparent when and where I can and I will be doing that again in this letter.
WEST SWAN ROAD — ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
Recently due to the growth of Shalom House we have been forced to find a new office block that can hold all our staff. We have just moved into a new Community Purpose Administration building on West Swan and the application for the change of zoning is about to be lodged. I feel that the Shire will be consistent with its approach to our applications and decline it which will force us once again to appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal.
Currently we have 34 men in this property with three overflow beds. The application for the zoning change sits in the hands of the Supreme Court of Western Australia and has been set down for 27 January 2017.
Currently we have 26 men in this property. The application for the zoning to be changes sit in the hands of the State Administrative Tribunal and is yet to be listed for hearing.
Currently we have five men in this property. This property is one of our stage four houses where residents live for a period of three to six months before leaving our program to enter stage five. Legally this house is OK as we are allowed to have six unrelated people in any house without Shire permission.
Currently we have four men in this property. This property is one of our stage four houses where residents live for a period of three to six months before leaving our program to enter stage five. Legally this house is OK as we are allowed to have six unrelated people in any house without Shire permission.
Currently we have three men in this property. This property is one of our stage four houses where residents live for a period of three to six months before leaving our program to enter stage five. Legally this house is OK as we are allowed to have six unrelated people in any house without Shire permission.
WEST SWAN RD/PARK STREET (my home)
I purchased this property just over two years ago. Since purchasing this property in 2014 we have spent considerable time cleaning it up and to date we have removed over 220 tonnes of rubbish and green waist from this property. At this property we DO NOT do any paid work including repairs and maintenance for customers or members of the public. The problem that I have is that Shalom has grown so fast, so quick I have all the Shalom vehicles parked on my property and it’s not OK. I really need to talk with the Shire and the powers that be to get and overall long term plan to help me put all this together where I am not disobeying anyone. The fellas during the day spend a great deal of time at my property cleaning it up and helping me to maintain it but I do not pay them a wage for doing so as it helps us to keep the fellas busy during the working day.
I am really in a pickle. I don’t want arguments with anyone, all I want to do is help people change their life. You don’t know what it’s like, or maybe you do, to be curled up in a ball hating who you are and what you stand for, wanting to change but not knowing how, and when you do try to change you find it to hard so you run back to where you feel comfortable and sadly that’s around everyone who does what your trying to stop doing.
I have tried on many occasions to get the powers that be to give me a hand or some direction in what I’m doing but the only time they every stand up for me or speak on my behalf is when a camera or a microphone is around, not one of them ever has made an effort to follow me up and do anything. I am trying to be as honest and as open as I possibly can. I welcome anyone to look over anything and everything that I do and if they find something that is not OK please show me so I can fix it. I’m trying my best with what I have and am running on the smell of an oily rag. I am 100 per cent self funded and, personally, I do not receive anything from Shalom for what I do and am a full-time volunteer with my wife working to support what I do — she pays the mortgage and puts food on the table. I work seven days a week, 16 hours a day and, personally, financially I’m going backwards, I don’t do what I do for money but because I care. There have been many things said about why I do what I do that are just not true and again I welcome anyone to come and look over anything and everything that I do including our books and financial affairs and you will see that I have nothing to hide.
What I hope from this letter is that the Swan Shire, Local and State Governments will get together and partner with me in the changing of lives and men in our community. What we are doing is actually working and is not costing anyone anything. The money that is being spent on taking me to court could be spent on finding me a place where I can do what I am doing and as a team we would be working together to change lives. We have an outcry in the community at the lack of assistance for drug addicts, we have a government that has just committed $6.1 million dollars on a 60-bed facility to help them and I have a Shire taking me to court when I do it for free and am producing mind blowing results.
I would like to encourage the Swan Shire to take a different approach to Shalom House. I would like for the Mayor and the powers that be to meet with me to put our heads together to work at a solution that is in the best interests of all parties involved. I have stated on many occasions that I am more than happy to move or do what ever is required to bring an end to this court action, short of closing down.
TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC IF YOU ARE READING THIS:
Could you please contact each person listed below and encourage them to take the time to come look first-hand at what Shalom House is doing so that they could make an informed decision as to where they stand on this matter, I have personally invited each person to attend:
Daryyl Trease — firstname.lastname@example.org
Mick Wainwright — email@example.com
Kevin Bailey — firstname.lastname@example.org
Rod Henderson — email@example.com
David Fardig — firstname.lastname@example.org
David Lucas — email@example.com
Adam Kovalevs — firstname.lastname@example.org
John McNamara — email@example.com
Maria Haynes — firstname.lastname@example.org
Cate McCullough — email@example.com
Patty Williams — firstname.lastname@example.org
David McDonnell — email@example.com
Ian Johnson — firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Parasiliti — email@example.com
Mark Elliott — firstname.lastname@example.org
Alyssa Hayden — email@example.com
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Following is a post that I shared not long ago on Shalom that will give you an idea on how we are funded and how we do what we do. Currently 70 residents, 22 staff, 11 properties (rented) and 100 per cent self funded.
The government has just spent 6.1 million dollars on adding 60 beds to Western Australia’s rehabilitation centers.
Shalom House is a 70 bed rehabilitation centre that is WORKING at changing the lives of men as well as their families. We cost no member of the public, government or anyone anything. We are completely self funded.
The 6.1 million dollars that has been rolled out is a bandaid measure to a bigger problem that will soon burst at the seams.
I believe we need to roll our program out across the State so as not to cost the government and the community a cent.
“SHALOM HOUSE IS FUNDED BY EX-ADDICTS”
Shalom House is funded by ex-addicts, let me tell you why. Many people who have never tried drugs don’t understand why drugs are enjoyable, they can’t stand the thought of it and can’t comprehend why on earth people use them. I used drugs for 26 years and enjoyed them, I loved the highs they gave me and the good times I had when on them, life became exciting and they seemed to take away all my problems. I knew the consequences of using drugs as I had suffered them for years but I didn’t seem to care, stuff the world I thought, I’m not hurting anyone.
I knew the risks: Hep C, bad health, financial ruin, family breakdowns and a whole heap more, but I didn’t care. I was having fun and they seemed to take away my problems, or so I thought.
Shalom House is 100 per cent self funded and does not receive any financial support from the government or other agencies. Currently we have 60 men in our facility across 9 nine houses and growing every month because the need is so high. Within the next six months I will be at 100 or more.
HOW WE ARE FUNDED
I charge each one of my fellas $300 per week for full board and not a cent more. Out of that we have to pay the rents on nine properties $5100 per week, utilities on the nine properties, feed and transport 70 men plus pay the wages of 22 staff and much more.
I don’t believe that society should have to pay to rehabilitate a drug user, it’s not OK. They are the ones that had fun for many years getting stoned of their face, they are the ones that chose to use drugs, they should be the ones to pay for their rehabilitation, not the taxpayer or another individual.
Five months back I started a buisness called “Shalom Works” which does all types of building maintenance and construction. 100 per cent of the income that is earned by Shalom Works goes into the running the Shalom House program, we are not costing the government a cent and what we are doing is working at changing lives.
There is not a program like Shalom House anywhere in Australia that is running like this and achieving the results we are, it’s astounding, 100 per cent self funded and we get all our fellas off Centrelink within eight months and back into the working community being productive members of society.
Yes, we are a registered tax deductible charity that has DGR status as well as a charitable collections licence and if it weren’t for a few generous people who have given to Shalom we would be doing it a lot harder than we are. I never ask people for money but if they get prompted to give they receive a tax deductible receipt and we make sure we use our funds wisely.
Shalom also has an external auditor who goes over all our books once per year to ensure we are using our funds wisely and that every dollar is accounted for.
The reason I write this is that I would like to always be open and honest and transparent in all that I do. I welcome any individual or organisation to look at our books and ask any questions with regards to Shalom, Shalom Works or anything else that I may put my hand to and you will see that no flies can land on me, we are honest, accountable and transparent in all we do.
It takes a great deal of commitment by everyone involved to make Shalom House work, from the staff to the volunteers and general public, it’s a team effort. Many sacrifices have been made by all involved to get Shalom to where it is today.
Shalom House is funded by those within the program, and in return they get their whole life sorted out. We help them to bring where possible complete restoration to their whole family. We also bring restoration to all their finances and general issues as well as set them up in a career of their choosing for their future.
So in closing we are a wholistic rehabilitation centre that works at bringing complete restoration to the individual and in turn flowing into their families.
Isn’t that AWESOME and it’s not costing anyone anything except the person who has been using drugs, even then they still receive more than what they give, a lot more.
I don’t believe it’s OK for a person to willfully use drugs and have a lot of fun doing so and when the consequences of their actions catch up with them to think they can just rock up at a government or non-government organisation and expect the tax payer or another individual to pay for their rehabilitation, it’s not OK. They are the ones that got themselves into their mess so they should be the ones to get themselves out of it and in turn they learn in the process.
Peter P Lyndon-James CEO/Founder/Senior Pastor
WASG inc & Shalom Church
West Australian Shalom Group
P: 0404 654 004
A: PO Box 2281
Midland DC 6936
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