St Francis House Needs You
Friday, 31 May 2024
St Francis House is an overnight shelter providing dinner, overnight accommodation and breakfast for the homeless. The house is a collaboration between Cana Communities and the Old Ignatians Union, with the objective of providing a safe and home-like atmosphere for the homeless, especially those most vulnerable, enabling people to avoid sleeping rough on the streets for a night. The initiative is the successor to Teresa House, which provided accommodation for more than 10 years before being closed due to COVID.

Located at 96 Redfern St, Redfern, the House opens every Wednesday and Friday evening at 6:30pm, with Wednesday evening dedicated to female guests and Friday open to both males and females. The property can accommodate up to 10 people, 8 guests and 2 volunteers, with four volunteers required each evening, 2 for the reception and dinner shift and 2 overnight. At the heart of the house is the dinner table, where volunteers and guests share a meal and their stories. Since opening in March 2023, approx. 600 guests have been welcomed to St Francis House with a total of 1200 meals provided.
This would not have happened if it were not for the extraordinary volunteers that run the shifts. While donations of money, food and clothing are appreciated, the donation of volunteering has the greatest impact on both Guests and Volunteers.The donation of time not only sees the guests provided with a meal and somewhere to sleep, but more importantly, respect. This is a common theme amongst volunteers, and the profound impact it has on them. One volunteer shared, ‘The homeless shelter gives volunteers the opportunity not only to provide a meal and place to stay and for our marginalised homeless but also allows for real interaction and the chance to listen to their stories in a safe environment. This seems to be what the guests and volunteers value most’. He continued, ‘it is a great way for parents and older sons to put into practices their Ignatian and spiritual values’. Another volunteer shared, ‘I like going to St Fracis House because it keeps me grounded. It is very easy to get caught up in our privileged bubble and important to remember that there are many other people less fortunate that we should be doing all we can to support’.

Volunteers come from across the community, including old boys, teachers and parents & friends, as well as people not directly linked to the Riverview community. The latest addition are students from St Paul's College at the University of Sydney who have committed a Friday shift every 6 weeks.

St Francis House needs more Volunteers to support this much needed home for the homeless. Shifts continue to be available for Wednesday and Friday evenings, and we are looking to start opening on Thursdays as well. We are looking for people who can commit to do a shift on a regular basis, and you can volunteer alone or with a friend. We provide observation shifts where potential volunteers can join a shift run by experienced volunteers and learn how to be involved.
To register your interest in volunteering, please send an email to requesting registration.
Peter Goodman

St Francis House Manager
041 110 8006