World’s oldest Catholic charity expands efforts to help Parramatta homeless

23 May 2017
The Order of Malta Community Care Van assists the homeless in Parramatta. Image: Australian Association, Order of Malta

FOR ALMOST 1000 years, the Order of Malta has served the Lord by serving the least of His brothers. In September 2016, CatholicCare Social Services – Diocese of Parramatta thanked the Order of Malta for their generosity and compassion in providing 100 ‘Coats for the Homeless’ in the Diocese of Parramatta.

The Order of Malta is a lay religious order and its members worldwide strive to promote the glory of God through service to the faith, the Holy Father and neighbours. They are committed to its mission of proving social and health assistance, aiding victims of disasters and war, and providing spiritual support.

Related coverage: CatholicCare shares Coats for Homeless

The NSW Branch of the Order of Malta currently has over 90 Knights and Dames and 100 volunteers. Their charitable activities include support of Palliative Care, Drug and Alcohol detoxification, Homeless outreach services and an annual Lourdes Day Mass celebration for the sick and infirm in the community. For the last 5 years, the Branch have provided comfort to those sleeping rough in the NSW and ACT by distributing their “Coats for the Homeless” through local homeless organisations.

“Our unique coat has been designed in close consultation with homeless people themselves, to ensure it meets their specific needs,” said Order of Malta NSW Branch Chairman, David Hall AM. “It is three-quarter length, shower-proof, quilted and warm. Importantly, it is black so the person wearing it is inconspicuous, after feedback revealed their biggest fear is being assaulted by drunks or thugs. Unlike swags, our coat is both portable and mobile, making it easy to walk and run in, and carry or stow during the day. It also has secret pockets inside to hold a few valuables.”

The coat provides the warmth of a sleeping bag or swag without restricting movement or making the wearer vulnerable to attack. It is free from uncomfortable buttons or zips, with just elastic and Velcro to offer a comfortable night’s sleep.

However, with homeless organisations reporting the highest number of rough sleepers in the last six years, the NSW Branch of the Order of Malta are stepping up their efforts to provide healthcare and protection to those sleeping on the streets.

Related coverage: CatholicCare shares Coats for Homeless

Their latest initiative is a Community Care Van that will provide a weekly mobile health service, that will also distribute the Coats for the Homeless. An initial van has been serving the Sydney CBD for almost two years and following its success a second van will shortly begin operation in Parramatta.

It is expected that Parramatta Community Care Van volunteers will distribute an extra 400 Coats for the Homeless in this coming winter.

“The work we do is funded entirely by the generosity of our supporters” explained David. “All donations to continue this initiative would provide much needed comfort and protection to the rough sleepers in the community’.

To make a donation, visit or send a cheque payable to ‘The Order of Malta’ to:

Coats for the Homeless – Parramatta Appeal
The Order of Malta
33-37 West Street
Darlinghurst, NSW 2010

The Order of Malta (ABN 37 142 209 121) is a Public Benevolent institution and is endorsed by the Australian Tax Office as Deductible Gift Recipient. Licence : SA – CCPI722, WA – 21310

Read Daily
* indicates required