St Matthew’s Church joins in homeless care

Wodonga Lions Club member Michael Georgiou and St Matthew’s priest Peter MacLeod-Miller with motorbikes which will feature at tomorrow morning’s service to acknowledge the contribution of Border Bike Fest donations to help the Border’s homeless. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

Wodonga Lions Club member Michael Georgiou and St Matthew’s priest Peter MacLeod-Miller with motorbikes which will feature at tomorrow morning’s service to acknowledge the contribution of Border Bike Fest donations to help the Border’s homeless. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

HOMELESS men and women have been on the doorstep of Albury’s St Matthew’s Church each morning this week, bringing with them “the rough edges” of a “broken world”.

Arch deacon Peter Mac- Leod-Miller, who presides over the Kiewa Street church, says the morning visitors highlight the need to help battlers, but he admits there is no simple remedy to their woes.

“There are lots of people that will always fall through the net, that’s just something that will always happen because the net can’t hold people with a range of psychiatric and intellectual disabilities,” Father Mac- Leod-Miller said.

“There are complicated realities that don’t fit within a box.

“It’s not really because of deficiencies, you can’t blame the government or the council.

“It is a problem of being in a broken world and this is us coming up against the rough edges.”

Among those greeting Father MacLeod-Miller this week were a psychiatrically impaired mother who cannot look after her three children and a drug-affected couple who are expecting a baby.

Faced with such cases, Father MacLeod-Miller said his views had changed over the past 12 months, after having once thought the homeless should camp on the floors of politicians’ offices.

“The reality is there are serious limitations if you go by the book in ticking the paperwork, because a lot of people don’t fit in,” he said.

Drugs are a particular concern.

Nevertheless, Father MacLeod-Miller is optimistic about the work being done to assist the Border’s homeless through organisations such as Housing Homelessness and Human Services Forum and St David’s Uniting Care.

“I feel far more hopeful about the community assistance that’s being offered and the goodwill that is about from community groups like Lions and Rotary, corporations and schools,” he said.

Helping St Matthew’s efforts, $2000 was yesterday donated from the Wodonga Lions Club-Border Bike Fest and $1000 from 2AY to bankroll assistance efforts for the homeless.

“We’ll use it on things like emergency food relief, accommodation, getting people to their families late at night and medication for kids,” Father MacLeod-Miller said.

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