With homelessness on the rise, the NSW Branch of the Order of Malta is expanding its efforts to provide healthcare and protection to those in need, Catholic Outlook reports.
For almost 1000 years, the Order of Malta has served the Lord by serving the least of His brothers. It is a lay religious order and its members worldwide strive to promote the glory of God through service to the faith, the Holy Father and neighbours. They are committed to its mission of proving social and health assistance, aiding victims of disasters and war, and providing spiritual support.
For the last five years, the NSW Branch has provided comfort to those sleeping rough in the NSW and ACT by distributing their “Coats for the Homeless” through local homeless organisations.
“Our unique coat has been designed in close consultation with homeless people themselves, to ensure it meets their specific needs,” said Order of Malta NSW Branch Chairman, David Hall AM. “It is three-quarter length, shower-proof, quilted and warm. Importantly, it is black so the person wearing it is inconspicuous, after feedback revealed their biggest fear is being assaulted by drunks or thugs. Unlike swags, our coat is both portable and mobile, making it easy to walk and run in, and carry or stow during the day. It also has secret pockets inside to hold a few valuables.”
However, with homeless organisations reporting the highest number of people sleeping rough in the last six years, the NSW Branch of the Order of Malta are stepping up their efforts to provide healthcare and protection to those sleeping on the streets.
The Order's latest initiative is a Community Care Van that will provide a weekly mobile health service, that will also distribute the Coats for the Homeless. A van has been serving the Sydney CBD for almost two years and following its success a second van will shortly begin operation in Parramatta.
It is expected that Parramatta Community Care Van volunteers will distribute an extra 400 Coats for the Homeless in this coming winter.
World’s oldest Catholic charity expands efforts to help Parramatta homeless (Catholic Outlook)