This interview with Sr Anne Jordan is part of an oral history project celebrating 25 years of the Homeless Persons Information Centre [HPIC]. The project was conducted in 2009. HPIC was a telephone referral service operated by the City of Sydney for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. Anne runs Cana Communities in inner Sydney, which works with HPIC and other agencies. In the excerpt below Anne talks about the kinds of homeless people who might be assisted by Cana Communities’ shelters.
We run Teresa House which is an overnight shelter with ten people and two volunteers for six nights of the week, and we also have two church shelters. One of them would take eighteen people and the other would take ten just one night a week each. People will ring up and make a referral through Homeless Persons [HPIC] to come to stay there; particularly for women because resources for women aren’t as numerous as for men. And so by working through HPIC we could make sure that the women could accommodate their week rather than just a couple of nights with us. People who come from prison, there’s a big group of people who come out of prison now who really are set up to get back there because they don’t even have enough money to get a place to start with, or relationally haven’t got skills or support, or they’ll go back to the place that they’ve left because that’s the only place they know, which sets them up again for reoffending because they’re in the same environment. We have a number of people who come to us now from that situation and they will stay varying lengths: some stay a few months and some have stayed a few years; it just depends on who they are, really, and when it’s right for them to move on.