On Saturday 4 March, eight staff members from Holy Family Primary at East Granville showed their support for people seeking asylum by assisting the House of Welcome as it prepares to relocate from Carramar to Granville.
A program of St Francis Social Services, the House of Welcome has been assisting refugees and people seeking asylum since 2001. It was set up as a compassionate response to government policies at the time and has since grown to become one of the largest providers of short to medium term accommodation for people seeking asylum in NSW.
It also provides case work, employment opportunities, English lessons and household necessities to those most in need.
According to the CEO of St Francis Social Services, Lyn Harrison, the support for the move by the local community has been outstanding.
“We are delighted to have been welcomed so warmly into the Holy Family Parish community. Our gratitude goes to the eight staff members of Holy Family Primary who were on site on Saturday working so hard to prepare the site for painting this week,” Lyn said.
“The support they have provided makes a big cost saving for us, but even more importantly, it goes a long way towards helping our clients who are seeking asylum realise that they are valued and they are welcome in our community.”
The aim of the relocation of House of Welcome is to prevent individuals and families from being forced into destitution by expanding the number of clients the House of Welcome will be able to assist.
The House of Welcome is moving to expand its service delivery capacity due to recent government decisions to scrap the assistance taxpayers provide to people seeking asylum who arrived by boat after 2012 if they receive a double negative ruling.
Up to 10,029 people in NSW alone could be affected. Under the change, people who receive a double negative ruling to their request for asylum will have to seek a merit review from the minister or the courts.
This process can take months or even years. While they wait for a decision they can be denied access to Medicare, denied access to Centrelink, denied access to any assistance from government-funded service providers, and most in this position will be denied the right to work.
The Diocese of Parramatta has supported the House of Welcome to begin renovation on a former convent in Holy Family Parish. The premises will provide the House of Welcome with:
- Six additional case work rooms to meet with families and individuals;
- A community room for advocacy and volunteer training;
- A safe place for people seeking asylum to be with others, including an outdoor community and garden area; and
- A commercial grade kitchen to professionalise and expand the Welcome Feast social enterprise program delivering real employment opportunities for people seeking asylum.
St Francis Social Services needs to raise $100,000 in donations and in-kind services to ensure the convent is habitable for service delivery. To show your support, tel (02) 9727 9290. To make an online donation, click here.
Published on 8 March 2017.