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Bronwyn with HOME manager Anne Pratt in Queanbeyan, NSW. (Catholic Voice)

Uncle Dan is flourishing. The gifted guitarist, brilliant chess player and wonderful listener is finally who he was always supposed to be thanks to HOME in Queanbeyan, according to his niece Bronwyn. Source: Catholic Voice.

“Uncle Danny was struggling trying to live independently in the community because of his mental illness,” Bronwyn explained.

“He was one of the first to move into HOME over ten years ago. They give him support. They give him family. I know it sounds strange because he is in assisted living, but that has given him independence. It is like I can see the real Uncle Danny.”

HOME, founded by Canberra-Goulburn priest Fr Peter Day in 2010, provides a long-term home for 20 people living with an enduring mental illness.

Each resident lives in a self-contained unit in a safe, loving and non-institutional setting. The organisation provides lunch daily, cooked by volunteers, and residents come together to enjoy a meal, conversation and friendship.

“Sometimes people with a mental illness can be only seen as that,” Bronwyn said.

“HOME gives its residents the opportunity to be themselves, separate from their illness. They give him a safe space, which means he can then contribute to the community – do activities and social stuff that he wouldn’t otherwise have the energy to do because he was putting all his energy into just functioning independently.”

HOME is the first of its kind to open in Australia.

“I think for all the people living here, it provides stability,” manager Anne Pratt said.

“It provides care. It provides a home where they feel safe, and they are around people who love and care for them.”

HOME was also significant in the wider community, Bronwyn noted, as it helped reduce the stigma of mental illness.

“Fr Peter said you can judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable people, and I thought that was really powerful,” she said.


A community-backed and community-funded HOME (By Veronika Cox, Catholic Voice)