68 children will spend Christmas at de Paul House for homeless

In total, 68 children including one newborn baby will spend Christmas at Birkenhead’s de Paul House, a housing and support service for homeless families.

Manager Jan Rutledge said the number of families they will be providing for at Christmas this year is the most it ever has experienced.

De Paul House was established in the early 1980s out of a concern about the number of families on Auckland’s North Shore who were either living in overcrowded circumstances or were homeless.

Members of the St Vincent de Paul society in Northcote transformed the St Dominic’s building, which had been used as extra classrooms for the local school, into an emergency housing facility.

The Daughters of Charity of the Australian Province administered the service on behalf of the Diocese and began the emergency housing and family support service in 1986.

De Paul House has over this period developed programmes to assist families with living skills, parenting, early childhood development, preparation for employment and family outreach support.

From its volunteer-led foundations in 1986, it now has a paid workforce of trained professionals.

It is supported by grants from the ministry of social development, the Auckland city council and a number of charitable trusts, foundations and businesses.

Stuff reports that figures show a record number of children will be spending Christmas in Auckland’s organisations for the homeless.

Auckland City Mission’s chief executive said they were expecting this Christmas to be their most demanding ever.

The organisation had distributed 17,094 emergency food parcels this year, a 27 percent increase on the previous year.

“For people who are struggling 364 days of the year, it is only fair that for one day there is something to celebrate,” he said.

“People who cannot afford food on a week-by-week basis cannot afford something special at Christmas, and that’s where we and the people of Auckland step in.”


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