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Asylum Seekers Housing Project
Steve Bradley, Chairman Asylum Seekers Centre, David Robinson, Chairman Mary Aikenhead Ministries, Sr Clare Nolan rsc, Congregational Leader Sisters of Charity Australia and Richard Haddock, Chairman Sisters of Charity Foundation at the Unveiling Ceremony for the Asylum Seekers Housing Project.
Sisters of Charity Foundation and the Asylum Seekers Centre Partner Up to Provide Emergency Housing for Asylum Seekers.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation has embarked upon the difficult but important task of providing emergency housing to asylum seekers who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The Foundation has invested close to $3m in the purchase of a residential building which will be used exclusively by the Asylum Seekers Centre for emergency and transitional housing to assist asylum seekers who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
"To celebrate the 175yr anniversary of the Sisters of Charity in Australia, the Sisters of Charity Foundation decided to embark on a legacy project that would provide a real and lasting benefit to a group of people who are some of the most disadvantaged living amongst us," said the Foundation's Chairman Richard Haddock AM.
"After extensive consultation with Homelessness NSW, we made the decision to approach the Asylum Seekers Centre and develop a housing partnership that will provide relief to a great many people over the years," he said.
The Foundation will make the property available to the Asylum Seekers Centre who will in turn manage the property as well as providing casework support for all residents.
Last year the Centre provided over 16,654 accommodation nights. With 80% of its clients arriving homeless or about to become homeless, demand is much greater than it can currently provide. The Foundation's gift will enable to the Centre to meet that demand and provide safe high quality accommodation. The Centre also provides food, healthcare, English lessons, employment assistance and other vital services to asylum seekers.
The issues confronting asylum seekers are complex. According to Melanie Noden, CEO of the Asylum Seekers Centre over 70% of their clients receive absolutely no government support, 50% have no work rights and over 30% have serious mental health issues. These issues are further compounded because they are not entitled to access government provided accommodation and have very limited access to other homelessness services.
According to Richard Haddock, "Access to safe, quality housing is a basic human need and fundamental to helping traumatised people make a new start."
"Every year thousands of asylum seekers seek refuge in Australia. Most arrive with nothing, know no one and are deeply traumatised by the circumstances of their displacement. Most are not able to access any form of government support and they must rely on compassionate, well organised non-government organisations and charities to assist with their most basic needs."
"The Sisters of Charity Foundation is pleased to have the opportunity to work in partnership with the Asylum Seekers Centre to provide essential support to some of the most disadvantaged people in our community," he said.
The keys to the property, located in Petersham, will be officially handed to the Asylum Seekers Centre at a small official gathering held on 3rd of March, 2015 which will also mark the commencement of the lease.
For more information contact:
CEO Sisters of Charity Foundation - 02 9367-1211
CEO Asylum Seekers Centre – 02 9078 1901
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