Editorial – September 2017

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Editorial – September 2017

In this issue of the newsletter we think again of what we
mean by
Community . How can St Aidan’s be a good
neighbour in our local community?
We are looking at a number of groups that our members are
in contact with to see where we might lend our weight and
make our neighbourhood a more welcoming place
particularly for those who feel themselves on the margins.
This Month’s Focus is DE PAUL HOUSE.
Y
ou will all be familiar with de Paul House across Onewa
Road from St Aidans for these many years.
De Paul House is part of the Vincentian Congregation
started by St Vincent de Paul in northern France when he
realised that “charity “ to be sustainable should be organised
and systemic. This year they are celebrating the 400th
Anniversary of the start of his ministry back in 1617.
(with acknowledgement to their website)
De Paul House provides housing and support services for
homeless families.
Their service aims to keep families united in a safe and
dignified environment, help them to address the issues that
have led to them being homeless, and have them leave to
successfully re-establish themselves in the community.
To be eligible for the services you must be a family i.e.
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caregiver(s) with dependent children. You must be a NZ
citizen or have had permanent residency for 2 years plus. It
is a non denominational service and accepts people from
any religion or background who meet the criteria.
Families can stay in the units for 12 weeks and then can
choose to stay in touch through the Outreach Support
Services. This includes access to the early childhood centre,
learning centre, social work and counselling services.
Transport to the centre is provided for families who live
locally and have no other means of transport.
The accomodation consists of 12 units in the buildings on
Onewa Road which have 70 beds, and some of the houses
from Hato Petera in College Road which the Catholic
Diocese made available
this year when their boarding
establishment closed. These are the houses which have
recently been needing furnishings,bedding and so on.
(At present 50% families helped have employment but have
got into difficulties because they are on minimum wages and
their rent has taken around 60% of their income.)
Where might St Aidans fit in to this?
I have some contact with de Paul House myself, helping with
sewing lessons. One Friday there are cooking classes
(featuring the garden produce grown on site when available)
and the next, sewing. Both get a very enthusiastic response
from the residents who keep coming back to them even after
they are settled in housing elsewhere.
Chatting to the children’s counsellor I heard that they would
like to be able to provide Christmas presents for the children
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and this is something St Aidans did in 2015, decorating
boxes and buying suitable gifts. Also when these kids are
chosen for sports teams at school they often can’t participate
because there is a fee of maybe $90 plus the sports uniform
to get. Another “pinch point” comes at the beginning of the
school year when stationery has to be bought for $60-80 per
child. If they don’t have it right at the start it puts them at a
disadvantage in class. That’s on top of school uniforms and
fees.
Maybe a place here we could help?
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