Support and Respite

You are here


Cana Communities provides support and respite for those in need or at-risk by providing short to middle term accommodation. 

Emmaus House, Perth

In the last months of 2016, Cana Communities expanded and introduced its companioning model to Perth after 40 years in Sydney helping hundreds of vulnerable people. We are building relationships and community with people who are lonely, homeless, leaving prison, suffering from addiction and/or mental ill-health.

Emmaus House, located in Fremantle, is the newest of Cana’s homes.  With the generous support of our community we have created a lovely hub and home space.  We are able to offer a sense of belonging and accommodation for up to four people.  In addition to this we are hosting a number of activities for our wider community.


Establishing a home space where we can build relationships with all walks of life, setting up welcoming places for companionship and friendship. Building community through Cana’s supported accommodation and unique spirituality, where celebration of people and of special occasions is alive. Offering a sense of belonging and being a family together, we value forgiveness and acceptance and provide a safe place to make mistakes and the opportunity to reinvent oneself.

Current needs

Call for volunteers:  

We are now at the stage of needing more volunteers and companions who can be involved in a number of ways in a variety of different roles. Time commitment and frequency can vary to suit you. Whether it's coming to prepare and share a meal, attend medical appointments, or just spend time together, we have many individuals who are in need of a friend to listen and simply be there for them. Offering care and support for people in need is a heartfelt, purposeful role, as well as being completely flexible, easy on time-management and rewarding. You can do with a friend.

How can you help?

In any way you feel you can, including:

  • Meal preparation and sharing.
  • Picnics, outings and excursions.
  • Attending appointments.
  • Sharing a coffee and a story.
  • Companioning.
  • Administration and finance assistance.

Opening times

Community events are continuing to grow with weekly coffee mornings, lunches and dinners, and other ad hoc activities.

Every Monday we meet in St Luke’s Church Community Garden in Mosman Park, to share lunch and stories with those in need. Through the generosity and guidance of Lizzie Davies and Rev Angela Webb we have our own garden beds, and learn about God’s creation through soils, worm farming, gardening, composting, and harvesting freshly grown fruits and vegetables to add to our lunch table.

Every Wednesday lunchtime we meet at Emmaus House in Fremantle to share a  meal and good conversation with those looking for connection and friendship. We are creating a home space where people can come and feel they belong.

Leader: Tor Taranto

Contact details: 

Facebook page: Perth Cana Communities

Nagle House, Sydney

What is Nagle House? 

Nagle House offers transitional accommodation for women who are in need, as they are at risk of becoming or are currently homeless. We work to provide each woman with personalised care and understanding, knowing that each individual faces different challenges as they move from one phase of life to the next. These women are all a part of the continually developing Nagle House story. Wherever their journey takes them after Nagle House, the women are still encouraged to visit and take part in House activities. 

Every resident at Nagle House, including all past residents, forms a very important part of the Cana Community. 

History of Nagle House

Nagle House is named after Nano Nagle and works to continue her legacy. Nano Nagle lived in Ireland in the 1700s, and founded the Presentation Sisters. Her life was dedicated to providing education to the poor, particularly women, and providing comfort to the needy. She was known as the "the Lady with the Lantern", as she walked the street at night with her lantern visiting the sick and poor. In 2013, Pope Francis declared Nano Venerable, a fitting honour to bestow on someone who sacrificed a life of comfort and privilege in order to help those in need. 

Nagle House was opened in July 2012, in its original location of Darlinghurst. In 2014, the house was moved to Redfern, where we currently work together to create an accepting and supportive community for women. 

Where do we get our referrals for new Nagle House residents?

Referrals come from a number of important organisations: 

  • the Women’s Justice Network; 
  • parole officers for inmates who are due to leave jail;
  • short term refuges;
  • homeless services;
  • mental health services;
  • The Red Cross, for women who have been victims of trafficking; and 
  • directly via the Cana Communities website.

Who are we?

The Leadership Team at Nagle House consists of a group of volunteers passionate about supporting women in need. We are always open to new volunteers and are constantly working to develop the Nagle House story. 

Interested in volunteering with Nagle House?

Various volunteering opportunities exist for those interested, depending on whether we have positions open and your time availability. 

Some examples of roles and responsibilities you can undertake as a volunteer include: 

  • Preparing and sharing a meal with the residents. 
    • We need volunteers for both Thursday lunches (11:00am  - 2:00pm), and Monday and Wednesday night dinners (6pm - 8.30pm).
  • Accompanying a resident to an appointment.
    • This can include appointments with Centrelink, court appearances, medical appointments or those with the Housing Department. Residents often find these appointments daunting, and accompanying them can be crucial to ensuring that they attend and feel supported.
  • Assisting in finding and applying for TAFE or Community courses, and providing ongoing support and encouragement.
  • Meeting one resident once per week for a social activity, such as a coffee and a walk.
  • Accompanying a resident to Cana Farm.

We would also love to hear from volunteers who have skills they can share with the residents. We run regular skills sessions with Nagle House residents in order to equip them with life skills, develop coping mechanisms, or provide them with new passions. These skills sessions can include a range of areas, such as yoga, meditation, nutrition, knitting, financial budgeting and more. 

If you are interested in Volunteering at Nagle House please contact us at or via the website. Cana holds regular information sessions for anyone who would like to find out more about volunteering at Cana. Cana also provides ongoing support and training to ensure volunteers know what they are doing and are comfortable in their role. 

We look forward to hearing from you.

De Porres House, Sydney

De Porres House and St Francis House are located in Darlinghurst, and both offer transitional and long-term accommodation for those most in need or at-risk.  Cana Communities has its origins as De Porres House in 1975. In a spirit of home and hospitality, the Houses offer a place for prayer and a quiet space to nurture our spirits. 

We accept resident referrals from the following sources :

  • Inmates about to leave gaol and referred from either Fr Peter Carroll or Julie Sneddon.
  • The homeless seeking accommodation, and usually arriving from the Garden Shelter following referral via Regina Madden.
  • Asylum seekers without accommodation or Government financial support.

Our residents are supported by a large team of volunteers who provide meals, community activities and companionship during the day, and reassurance to residents through their presence overnight. In addition to the resident communities of both Houses, a living space is provided for people from our shelters, to give them a short break from the streets and support for their next steps. 

Some examples of the way our volunteers are always on hand to ensure our residents and community members benefit from belonging to a community are:

  • Monday picnics in Green Park Darlinghurst where we share sandwiches with the Park regulars.
  • Tuesday evening family dinners with residents of both Houses.
  • Wednesday lunches, which welcome visitors.
  • Thursday evening open-house night for a large group of visitors to join residents and volunteers for an evening meal followed by Mass, which is celebrated at the dinner table. Great credit goes to to the network of priests who are regularly called upon to participate and provide spiritual guidance to those present during the dinner and Mass.
  • Other volunteer groups regularly cater for evening meals while our team of overnight volunteers continue to provide company and reassurance to our residents.
  • Social activities are regularly organised outside the home for residents and community members.

As always, more volunteers are needed to take part in the above programmes.

Leader: Terry and Tricia Cassidy

Contact details: