'Coats for the Homeless' Campaign Offers Warmth and Hope to Sydney’s Most Disadvantaged
As the wind and cold howled through the streets of Sydney this winter, many of us buried ourselves deeper under the covers - grateful to be safe and warm. However, many of Sydney’s homeless were huddled in doorways or anywhere they could find shelter from the elements.
According to Homelessness Australia, one in 200 people in Sydney were homeless during winter. The NSW branch of the Order of Malta worked with CatholicCare Sydney along with CatholicCare Parramatta, Wollongong and Broken Bay to distribute coats for people who were homeless or sleeping rough.
CatholicCare Sydney then worked with other inner city homelessness service providers to help distribute the coats.
Robert Costa from the NSW Branch of the Order of Malta says homelessness is a growing problem in Australia.
“Homelessness Australia says there are currently 105,237 people in Australia who are homeless. In NSW there are 28,190 homeless people, and that’s an increase of 20.4% since 2006.” Mr Joe Cashman, CEO CatholicCare Social Services Parramatta said.
“The Order of Malta delivers about 1200 coats to the homeless in Sydney every year. Through our partners, CatholicCare works to ensure those coats we receive are distributed to those most in need. Then, our ultimate aim is to provide services that place homeless people into safe and secure accommodation with appropriate supports to empower them to live independently.”
The outgoing CEO of CatholicCare Sydney, Bernard Boerma says the ‘Coats for the Homeless’ program provides an opportunity to help at a very fundamental level.
“Can you imagine living on the streets of Sydney in the cold without a coat to keep you warm? These coats offered protection against the cold and I like to believe they also gave people a feeling of hope and dignity.” Mr Boerma said.
“The Catholic Social Teaching on Human Dignity and Homelessness tells us that each member of the human family has equal rights because we are all children of one God. We are sisters and brothers to each other.”
“The Missions of the Order or Malta and CatholicCare network are perfectly aligned in our aim to break this cycle of homelessness and reduce the number of homeless people on our streets”.
To find out more about the Coats for the Homeless program, please visit the Order of Malta website.