Title

Notre Dame community supports Homeless Persons' Week

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 8-10-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place

Fremantle

Abstract

Hundreds of toiletries, blankets and sleeping bags are heading to some of Western Australia’s neediest residents following an overwhelming response to a collection at Notre Dame’s Fremantle Campus in support of National Homeless Persons’ Week.

First-year Biomedical Science student Alexander Das coordinated the appeal in conjunction with Perth radio station 98.5 Sonshine FM to raise awareness about the unpredictability of homelessness and to offer assistance to nearly 105,000 homeless people in Australia.

Mr Das’ cause was supported greatly by the Notre Dame community. Countless donations of soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, towels and sleeping bags were received during the appeal and donated to Homeless Persons’ Week WA.

This year’s theme for National Homeless Persons’ Week was My Address – Diversity in Homelessness and sought to identify areas of the community where people who couldn’t find accommodation resided.

Its message was that homeless affected everybody – from young children to students and sole parents who had no place to call home.

While a student at Rossmoyne Senior High School, Mr Das was a mentor for victims of bullying and assisted with the St Vincent de Paul Emergency Food Relief Program through St Anthony’s Parish in Greenmount. The program aims to deliver nourishment to people who struggle financially and to those who are disabled or elderly.

He thanked the Notre Dame staff and students, especially Campus Chaplain Fr John Sebastian, for their support of the collection.

“I wasn’t surprised at the response from the Notre Dame community at all,” Mr Das said.

“I felt the University’s ethos of creating a community where we assisted others really drove the cause and triggered a great response from staff and students,” Mr Das said.

“We sometimes take these items for granted and tend not to appreciate the simple things we have in our lives.

“For someone who is homeless, they have lost a lot in their life and whatever support we can provide can help them and give them more hope for the future.”

According to Homelessness Australia, the single largest cause for homelessness in Australia is domestic violence. Mental illness, gambling and family breakdowns are also significant causes of displacement throughout the nation.

Media Contact: Leigh Dawson (+61) 8 9433 0569, Mob (+61) 0405 441 093