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Education program for homeless men wins national award

The St Vincent de Paul Society's Charles O'Neill House has won the Australian Adult Education Provider of the Year Award for its program designed to help men in crisis to break the cycle of homelessness with learning.

The award, provided by Adult Learning Australia, in collaboration with the Department of Education, Science and Training and the Australian National Training Authority, was presented to Charles O'Neill House for their achievements in adult education in the community. Each award provides $2000 to support a continual commitment to adult learning.

Charles O'Neill House in Sydney provides supported accommodation to 49 homeless men who each commit to a structured adult education program. Since opening, 148 men have been accepted into Charles O'Neill House. The program aims to develop self-esteem, assist the men find meaning in life and to foster feelings of belonging and responsibility with their community. The educational employment and life skills program, which addresses the multiple problems associated with long-term adult male homelessness, aims to enable and support homeless men's transition into independent living and work placements within the community.

Each stage in the program is based upon 3 months semesters and offers subjects such as communication classes, conflict resolution classes, and humanities classes with a particular focus on creative writing, Archaeology and Philosophy. Humanities are taught as a means to encourage the men to develop their problem solving and communication skills, whilst the personal development classes teach the men ways to manage aggression. Programs also are developed to help those who lack the basic skills in literacy.

The St Vincent de Paul Society's Homeless Services President Pat O'Flynn said: "The programs at Charles O'Neill House are based on developing a holistic approach to help the homeless person to rediscover the value of education and in turn be a catalyst for men to once again feel a valued member of the community."

Education program for homeless men wins national award (St Vincent de Paul Society 22/11/04)

St Vincent de Paul Society
Socratic lessons for the homeless (The Australian 24/11/04)
Vinnies and ACU organise learning for the homeless (CathNews 12/11/04)
Visiting author says humanities education will give riches to homeless (CathNews 7/3/03)
Bard Clemente Program: A "Harvard-level" education for the poor (

24 Nov 2004