Life has been tough for Timoty, a former crane driver who has multiple medical issues and lives on a disability pension. When he found himself without a home, he turned to Catholic Care Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains for help and since then, his life has turned around.
Parramatta Catholic Foundation’s Bishop’s Christmas Appeal is seeking donations to help Catholic Care support more people facing difficult circumstances, like Timoty.
Timoty, aged 63 and originally from New Zealand, had been living with his stepdaughter for many years, but when she needed to move, Timoty also had to find somewhere else to live.
Not sure of his options, he went to Catholic Care at Emerton and asked them for assistance.
“Catholic Care helped me get a housing application in,” he says.
He is now living in a property near Emerton and receiving ongoing support from the team at Catholic Care.
“If it wasn’t for Catholic Care, I wouldn’t have got this place,” he says. “And they organised for me to get a bed, a chest of drawers, a fridge, pots, pans, and a new TV. They’re very understanding and have been the best support for me.”
To top it off, a shared vegetable garden at the back of the units where Tim lives, enables him to continue one of his favourite pastimes – gardening.
“I’ve always loved gardening – growing vegetables, fruits, and things like that,” he said. “The other people here like to garden too – they’re all friends now, and we share the vegetables.”
“Timoty also has eyesight issues, and at one stage, he got a letter from Housing that he couldn’t read,” Kate Whiteley, Catholic Care Aged Housing Manager, says.
“So, I rang Housing with him and got them to explain the letter. It turned out they were advising him of a routine inspection.”
On top of that, Catholic Care found Timoty an optometrist to do eye testing and arrange rebated glasses for him.
Catholic Care continues to support Timoty with his ongoing needs, helping him to live as independently as possible.
As Christmas draws closer, when Christians celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, in a stable, Catholic Care is seeking support to help many in our own community who, like Timoty, are in need of a place to call home.
Earlier this year, Catholic Care committed to reach people who are ineligible for government assistance, launching the Assistance with Care and Housing service, which offers practical and emotional support to disadvantaged and vulnerable people.
The program started in February and already, 120 clients have received support. In the last seven months, the demand for this service has soared.
Georgie Crabb, Catholic Care Case Manager, says that as the cost of living soars and the housing market tightens, more and more people are facing hard times.
“This is a really desperate time,” she says. “Our job is becoming more and more difficult. We walk alongside people who’ve applied for 30-odd properties, and they’ve been knocked back from all of them. Their eviction date is looming. Calls are coming in every day.”
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, says that the Bishop’s Christmas Appeal will help more people like Timoty find a safe and secure place to call home.
“Pope Francis repeatedly calls us to care for those who find themselves excluded, without work, and without any means of escape,” he said.
“They are our sisters and brothers. And just as Jesus loves them, so must we.”
This Christmas, you can help Catholic Care end homelessness and support more people like Tim to find a place to call home. Please give generously to the Bishop’s Christmas Appeal on (02) 8838 3482 or visit yourcatholicfoundation.org.au/bishops-christmas-co-appeal-22
Debra Vermeer is a freelance journalist and contributor to Catholic Outlook.