HOMELESS people from both ends of the age spectrum are to benefit from the launches this week of two new Catholic social care and housing projects one in the heart of London and the other in the rolling farmland of Suffolk.
The Catholic Children's Society (CCS) has adopted the title of a popular television soap opera for its new project to help homeless young people in Brixton, south London.
The Home and Away Project, officially opened this week by the society's president. Archbishop Michael Bowen, aims to prevent young people from running away from home as well as helping those who have already done so to become reunited with their families.
The project is headed by David Smolira, a Jesuit priest and social worker who was appointed last year by the CCS to make a study of the needs of the homeless in London. "There was quite a lot of short and medium-term accommodation available, but little or nothing in the way of preventive work," he said.
''The youngsters themselves chose the name," says Anne Nott, a voluntary helper with the project. "It describes very well the dual role of the project, though the accent is on prevention by catching young people before they get to the stage of running away."
Meanwhile a community of Benedictine nuns has opened a new sheltered housing scheme for the elderly close to their convent and chapel in Suffolk.
Oakampton House at Great Barton near Bury St Edmunds is the most recent project to be undertaken by the Sisters of Our Lady of Grace and Compassion, who already look after nearly 400 elderly people in the UK, India, Sri Lanka and Kenya.
The new house consisting of 17 one and two bedroomed flats is intended to meet the needs of elderly people who want to be independent yet have the security provided by a resident warden.