A Catholic Monthly Magazine

De Paul House

De Paul House has been serving and strengthening families through our emergency accommodation and community family support since 1986.  Established by the local parish of St Marys under the guidance of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, these volunteers worked tirelessly to transform the neglected buildings into accommodation units for families in need.St. V deP 1

The Daughters of Charity of the Australian Province lived on site to administer the service and establish the support programmes. These groups brought with them a strong belief in the charism of St Vincent de Paul, which involved prayer followed by action.

Now 28 years later this wonderful foundation of Vincentian values and convictions continues to inspire the work of all staff, board and volunteers at de Paul House.

St Vincent de Paul’s values are at the heart of our Mission Statement and are worked out in our daily activities.

The Vincentian Values are as relevant today as they were in the 17th Century when St Vincent de Paul dedicated himself to working with the poorest in his community.

Values of:

Respect: Treat all with respect, with a high regard for the worth of each person, their beliefs and traditions; seeing the presence of Christ in those in need.

Compassion: Treat all with empathy in a non-judgemental manner

Humility: Treat all with a healthy appreciation of their gifts and strengths

Simplicity: Have an unassuming openness to all, be at ease with others and make them feel at ease.St V de P 2

Sadly, the issues that St Vincent de Paul and the Daughters of Charity dealt with on a daily basis are little different from the issues we see our families battling with today. Poverty, homelessness, poor health, poor education and lack of resources impact New Zealand families just as St Vincent witnessed in France in 1630.

We believe the success we have with our families is firmly grounded in the services that we operate with a heart of humility and respect.  The progress we witness these families make during their stay with us is humbling. They often arrive at de Paul House exhausted, despondent and disorganised, many having been transient for long periods of time, owing to an inability to secure stable, affordable housing.

Many families are overwhelmed, when they realise that for the first time ever their children will have their own bed, in a separate bedroom, in a safe, clean, warm environment.

Our family support team work alongside each family to develop a ‘Family Plan’ to work through individual challenges; most often financial debt and family relationship breakdown.

St V de P 3Preschool children quickly become immersed in the free daily Preschool education programme while parents are encouraged to attend the Learning Centre and make the most of the practical courses offered including budgeting and financial literacy, computer, literacy, employment skills, and life skills such as cooking on a budget and parenting.

School age children are enrolled at school and are soon eager to attend our daily homework centre.  We are continually amazed by the resilience of our families despite facing distressing situations. The families respond well to the constant support, encouragement and programmes offered by de Paul House, learning new skills, gaining confidence and often making life changing -  decisions to improve their future.

Sadly one of our biggest challenges in 2014 is finding affordable, secure housing for our families. We are seeing many working families, who are on low wage rates, unable to meet or sustain the current rental costs and facing homelessness as a result. The right to affordable healthy housing should be a major concern to all of us, as the most basic foundation to a healthy, well achieving family.

St Vincent de Paul spoke of ‘inventiveness to infinity’ and here at De Paul House we are working in many inventive ways to help our families secure housing and a positive future. Our latest building project has begun with the building of two 3 bedroom units and one 2 bedroom unit to meet the increasing need. We hope you will join with us, so we can continue to provide effective services that strengthen and build resilient families.

For charity to be effective only one motive suffices, and that is genuine love and respect for the person receiving it. St Vincent’s special ability was to honour the ones he helped in the very act of helping them, exemplifying the love God has for all his people.

As we celebrate the Feast of St Vincent de Paul on 27th September, we pray you will hold up de Paul House and our families  in prayer. Will you partner with us to follow the heart of St Vincent de Paul to serve the ‘least of His children’?

Please donate via our website www.depaulhouse.org.nz or by using the enclosed insert and return envelope.   



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