• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
Friday, 13 June 2014 12:32

History of helping the homeless

Rate this item
(2 votes)

Hutt St logoThe Hutt St Centre and the Daughters of Charity will celebrate sixty years of ministry in Adelaide, where it has offered welcome and hope for the homeless. The Centre has become a leader and model of frontline service in Australia as well as overseas where many organisations are replicating their work, writes the Centre's chief executive officer Ian Cox.

The Daughters of Charity, a worldwide community of women within the Catholic Church and founded in 1633 in Paris by St Louise de Marillac and St Vincent de Paul, were invited to Adelaide in 1954. 

Three Sisters took up residence in Hutt Street in St Louise’s House (258 Hutt St). With no money and depending entirely on ‘divine providence’ the Sisters set about trying to respond to one of the basic needs of life by providing meals through sandwiches and a jar of tea to the men who used to line up down the back alley of the Centre off Gillies Street. Sr Vincent Cormac was the first Coordinator of the Centre.

From the visitation of the homes in the local community it was soon realised that there were many men living in rooming and boarding houses who were very isolated.

In 1962 ‘The Hall’ at 260 Hutt Street next door to where the Sisters lived was altered to incorporate a kitchen and this was opened on Sunday August 5 1962 and named after Mr Bert Edwards. He had been a city councillor and was a very supportive, generous philanthropist who was interested in the work of the Daughters over the years. His name still adorns the current kitchen – Edward Hall.

The community insisted that the meal centre be designed so that those using it would be able to do so with dignity and in comfort.
In 1982 renovations were made to the kitchen with a new dining room (meal centre), waiting room and offices attached at the front to create services for health and pastoral care. The new meal centre was blessed by Archbishop James Gleeson.

In 1983 the Daughters of Charity moved out of Hutt St to live at Fullarton. The residence was then converted into offices, meeting rooms and a health care room where a local GP commenced regular visiting hours.

In 1986 the day centre was built at 262 Hutt Street. This provided an activities room, TV room, laundry, library, showers, laundry, kitchenette, garage and locker room to ensure that clients had a safe space for their personal goods. These additions were blessed by Archbishop Len Faulkner.

Over the years the Centre has progressed into one of the leading frontline services in not only Adelaide, but across the country and overseas where many organisations are replicating our work.

The needs unfortunately continue to grow and we are now working with women, families and men.

Whilst still being a place of welcome and hope, we are focused on inspiring and motivating the client group by creating additional pathways out of homelessness.

The secret to getting out of homelessness isn’t just about putting someone in a house – it is also about giving people something to do in their life. That’s the value and the true pathway out of homelessness. We know that housing is incredibly important and we need more of it – it’s just that employment, education and training opportunities make people feel proud of their achievements; they feel truly valued and see hope into the future.

Our ultimate dream is to one day end homelessness and make ourselves redundant, but to achieve this we require a world class facility. Organisations around the globe are attracted to our work and we believe that this is in part due to the history of our founders St Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac who both epitomised the spirit of this organisation.

To celebrate 60 years of service, we invite you to the 60 Year Mass to celebrate Hutt St Centre and the Daughters of Charity in Adelaide, 2pm Sunday July 20 2014, in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, 39 Wakefield Street, Adelaide, followed by afternoon tea in the Cathedral Hall. RSVP: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and/or 8418 2500

This article by Ian Cox, chief executive officer of the Hutt St Centre, first appeared in the June 2014 edition of The Southern Cross.

Read more on the Hutt St Centre, a ministry of the Daughters of Charity, and find out how you can help.

Read more on the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

image002