New social housing opens in Cardiff

In mid-January, St Vincent de Paul Housing (SVDPH) officially opened its new social and affordable housing complex, the Rendu Apartments, in Cardiff, west of Newcastle.

As part of the NSW Government’s Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF), the St Vincent de Paul Society will be providing ongoing support to the residents.

In a COVID-safe, outdoor gathering, St Vincent de Paul Society members, volunteers, and staff marked the milestone with a small ceremony and blessing.

Guests included the Minister for Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, The Hon. Gareth Ward; Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Kay Fraser; and the Most Reverend Bishop William Wright.

NSW Society State President, Peter McNamara, was unable to attend in person but, thanks to the lessons learned in the pandemic, he was able to give an address via video.

He spoke about how the Society’s capacity to help has grown since it was founded in the 1830s and the importance of helping in areas of need like the Hunter.

“Who could have imagined not just two centuries ago but even two decades ago that we would be providing 94 families with a home, coupled with personal support from the Society members, volunteers and staff?”

In his speech, Minister Ward referenced the Gospel of Matthew and the importance of building on solid foundations.

“The solid foundations here are not just the bricks and mortar that we see in these 94 units around where we are sitting today but they are the people that will provide those vital supports, the care, the hearts and the hands that will be here to assist those people who are doing it tough.”

Maitland / Newcastle Central Council President, John McKendry, spoke about how his Council settled upon naming the development for St Vincent de Paul Society
co-founder, Sister Rosalie Rendu.

“As well as being a co-founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society, she started the Daughters of Charity. The Daughters of Charity established – I presume it was a convent – in Sandgate … a nearby suburb to here.”

Ahead of performing the blessing of the Rendu Apartments, Bishop Wright spoke about the importance of the Society’s work in living the teachings of Jesus Christ.

“Lightening people’s loads, their burdens, letting them have the security, the feeling of rest of being able to be at home, where they are – these things are part of Jesus’ call ‘come to me you are weary and burdened, I will give you rest’.

“So, we celebrate the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society through its conferences and through its special works in continuing to offer that invitation.”

The Rendu Apartments mark the end of SVdPH’s construction commitment to the SAHF, with all of the properties under SAHF’s first round of funding now delivered.

St Vincent de Paul Housing CEO, Brian Murnane, was the last speaker but was focussed on the future and the ongoing need for more social housing.

“We know, Minister, that you are a great advocate for social and affordable housing in the Government and we stand ready to do more. If you’ve got the money, we’ve got the capability to deliver more.”