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Fifty-one years of helping the homeless

The iconic Vincentian Aged Care service in East Sydney reached a proud 51 years of service this past week, celebrating their achievements in providing roofs over the heads of hundreds of residents in marginalised communities for over half a century.

More than 30 residents, some of whom have been at the service for up to 17 years, celebrated with cakes and other treats.

Operated by not-for-profit provider Catholic Healthcare, Vincentian Aged Care began operating in 1966 and last year underwent significant renovations to offer the highest quality of care to residents, including tailoring to individuals’ personal constraints, like mobility limitations or dementia.

Residential Service Manager, Maurice Oliver, says the location of the service is particularly close to the residents’ hearts considering their experiences in the area.

“A lot of the residents grew up around the inner city and spent a lot of their later years here – to them, that is home,” he said.

Not only taking care of the shelter needs for the homeless, Vincentian take their service a step beyond regular duty of care, with a broad range of recreational activities filling their residents’ calendars.

“Any given day at Vincentian you can see the residents being visited by animals, coming together to read in the activity room – or even practicing tai chi and yoga on the rooftop,” Maurice said.

“A lot of these residents live with conditions like depression and paranoia from the hardships experienced in their lives. We want to make this part of their lives the best it can be by offering activities they may never have had an opportunity to try before, and tackle those mental health conditions holistically."

With approximately one in seven homeless individuals being over the age of 55, the Vincentian service has been an iconic service in the Eastern Sydney community, particularly due to the high incidence of homelessness affecting Darlinghurst and the surrounding areas.

“Homelessness is still a significant issue for this area,” Maurice said. “We’re so proud to have made it to 51 years – there’s no doubt we’ll continue on helping the community long into the future.”