Catholic identity vital for De Paul House after 30 years


Preserving its special character, as well as ongoing funding requirements, will continue to be the main challenges for Catholic social agency De Paul House.
De Paul House general manager Jan Rutledge, speaking at a celebration of De Paul House’s 30th anniversary on September 27, said that while the agency operates as a professional housing and social agency, it is its Catholic charism “that remains our
most effective point of difference”.

De Paul House provides emergency housing and wrap around family support

“Our voice must remain independent and our services focused on a social
justice framework and principles of St Vincent de Paul,” she said.

Ms Rutledge said 38 per cent of running expenses are currently met through Government funding. This is the highest level of Government funding De Paul House has received in its 30 years.

“Although this is obviously valued, it does leave a significant shortfall which De Paul House raises [funds for]annually,” she said.

“The continuing financial support of individual donors, philanthropicnand community trusts and our hardworking volunteer fundraising committee ensures our sustainability and longevity.”

De Paul House chair Brendan Fitzgerald also thanked the staff and the volunteers for their contribution to the community.

“For 30 years now, De Paul House has been offering a key of hope to families in need,” he said.

“Many of them comment on the fact that having a key to their own unit marks a shift for them.”

He said a key to their unit provides “a sense of belonging and identity, an acknowledgement of a safe place in which they can regroup and prepare for the next stage of their journey”.

The agency’s property, formerly owned by the Dominican Sisters, was left to Auckland diocese in 1983.

The guests at the celebration, including Hamilton Bishop Emeritus Denis Browne, were asked to put aspirations on a paper symbolising a key and to tie it to a “Tree of Hope”.

Bishop Browne also rang the school bell from the original 1933 school building.

It was Bishop Browne who suggested that the building be converted into an emergency housing facility.

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Rowena Orejana

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