ST PAT’S Community Support Centre held a Christmas lunch in Princess May Park for the vulnerable and homeless on Tuesday.
CEO Michael Piu said the festive season can can be one of the toughest times of the year for the homeless, and St Pat’s lunch gave them an opportunity to enjoy a bit of Christmas spirit and companionship.
“We’ve organised fun activities, music and so forth because people facing homelessness often face isolation and depression,” he says.
“It’s a way of connecting them up and making them feel a bit special and showing that the community cares.”
St Pat’s client Malcolm Hill said the lunch cheered him up.
“Christmas is a hard time for me,” Mr Hill said. “I’ve got no family or nothing, so [this lunch] is important.”
Mr Hill has been getting help from St Pat’s for several years and says their assistance is invaluable.
“When I’m down and out, this is the sort of place I call a second home,” he says. “It’s a place where I could go and feel safe.”
Mr Piu says St Pat’s goal is to reduce homelessness and eradicate its negative stigma.
“We really need to have conversations in our community about what homelessness is all about: ‘Why are people in there, who are they, what is the nature of people who find themselves in homelessness?’” Mr Piu says.
“You’ll find they’re no different to you and I – it’s just their circumstances have been different.”
by SEAN HILL