Social Justice Matters
In the middle of a Canberra winter two months ago, CatholicCare did a wonderful thing, it opened a residence for women who are homeless – and their children. And this is not just another shelter, this is a strategy – to ensure that the women they help go on to find and access safe, permanent housing and stabilise their lives.
Anne Kirwan, CEO of CatholicCare Canberra & Goulburn said that the opportunity to use the old Sisters of Saint Joseph convent to help women get back on their feet was too good to pass up. “What a legacy of Saint Mary MacKillop!”, she said. For the first time in ages, twenty single women, and another six with accompanying children will be able to sleep properly tonight – they will be able to breathe.
The convent in Lyneham was originally built as accommodation for single women and MacKillopHouse has exploited that to focus on the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, single women, especially those over 50 years of age. Women who have run into difficulty and out of options are at significant risk; their plight is made worse by the threat to their safety. Frequently, they sleep in their cars or move from one friend or family member to another, sleeping on couches and the floor. COVID 19 and social distancing changed all that of course – no one wanted a stranger staying in their house.