Social Justice - Homelessness in our Community

Recently, the Lithgow Portland Wallerawang Catholic Social Justice Group held an evening at the Mary O’Leary Centre in Portland, looking at issues to do with homelessness in our community. The evening was well attended by approximately 40 people who enjoyed dinner before listening to our two very interesting guest speakers; Father Stephen Sinn and Sergeant Darryl Goodwin.

Father Steve has recently moved to Bathurst and spoke about his long term work with those experiencing homelessness and disadvantage, and what his ministry in Bathurst involves.

Sergeant Darryl is currently based at Lithgow Police Station and spoke about homelessness issues that he experiences as a police officer. Sergeant Darryl described how he and other police officers assist homeless people. He identified special problems in seeking to assist homeless persons after hours, especially early in the morning in winter. He explained how there were less options for emergency accommodation available for men than for women.

Father Steve argued strongly that homelessness is a result of poverty and that he has never met a homeless person who was rich. In working with homeless people, Father Steve saw himself as building the type of community where all members help to develop the community and support each other. Father Steve has had considerable success in helping to build communities of this kind.

The gathering was chaired by Charlie O’Mahony and there was lively dicussion with the speakers. The event was felt to be very successful by all those attending.

 Denis Kelly

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