The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has used its 2018-19 Social Justice Statement to express deep concern about Australia’s alarming growth in homelessness and insecure housing. Source: ACBC Media Blog.
In A Place to Call Home: Making a home for everyone in our land, released this morning, the bishops have called on Australians to look beyond the immediate challenges of the average household budget and to consider those who are homeless or facing housing stress because of skyrocketing rents and property prices.
In a letter to parishes, ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said: “It seems hard to believe that in a rich nation such as ours, the latest Census figures show that the number of Australians who are homeless has grown to more than 116,000.
“House prices and even rents are spiralling out of reach of too many families and placing huge financial stress on ordinary people, even when they are employed. For those living on pensions or allowances, finding secure housing can be a far greater challenge – one that often takes a terrible toll on social wellbeing and mental health.”
In his foreword to the statement, Australian Catholic Social Justice Council chair Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv. said a ruthless housing market was leaving people struggling to find secure and affordable housing, whether they lived in cities or regional areas.
“That struggle has a corrosive effect on family life, on employment, on study and on our capacity to contribute to and benefit from our society. At its worst, the struggle leaves the vulnerable in our society homeless – sleeping on the street, in cars or in doorways, or hoping for a space on someone’s couch or floor,” Bishop Long said.
“Housing is a human right, asserted by documents like the UN Declaration of Human Rights and by the teachings of our Church. Housing is an essential entitlement for all people to meet their basic needs, flourish in community and have their inherent human dignity affirmed and upheld by others.”