Fay Gurr is the St Vincent de Paul Society’s Northern Territoxry President. She hopes the October congress will bring about a new set of goals the Society can work towards collectively.
The unique feature of the Territory is the very small population for a very large area.
People who come to us for help are predominantly Indigenous. They need emergency relief like food and sometimes accommodation.
Some Aboriginal people seeking the Society’s help are living in what is called ‘long grass’ in the Territory.
It means that they are homeless. They live in parks and in green areas. Or in long grass, where they can’t be seen.
We are presently in the dry season. It is quite cool. It can get cold overnight. So there tends to be a rise in the number of people coming for help and warm shelter.
For housing, options include low-rent emergency housing, mostly for men. We have one centre for families that is run through an agent for rent.
We are looking at expanding these options this year, so that there are specific options for women, and women with families.
Fay’s thoughts on Congress 2017
I’m interested in seeing a more national identity emerge from the congress.
We have very few conferences in the territory, and they are all very small.
We are working to rebuild our financial position. The Society in Queensland has helped improve our processes and procedures, allowing us to remain viable.
So we have been going through a complete rethink of our work. Now we are partnering with a lot more government programs. These revolve around alcohol and drug rehabilitation, supporting elderly people who want to stay in their homes, and prison visits and prison work.
I would like to see the Society set goals that we can all work towards achieving—and for which we will all be held accountable.