Parishioners from at least two inner west Catholic churches are getting behind the Australian bishops’ call for affordable housing.
The theme of Social Justice Sunday on 30 September is ‘A place to call home: Making a home for everyone in our land’.
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) in its annual social justice statement has called on governments and the community to work together to address rising rates of homelessness and housing stress, and assert the value of housing as a basic human right.
Julia Pokorny from the Social Justice Group at St Vincent’s parish in Ashfield says that the statistics on homelessness in Australia are “damning”.
“Yet despite this an incredible 90 per cent of government spending on housing policies goes to those who are not in the greatest need,” she said.
“Generous government benefits in the form of tax concessions and direct expenditure goes to property investors and homeowners.
“As a parent I am concerned that young people don’t have the security which we took for granted, and are often forced to move far away from their families.”
The parish group are also concerned about the quality of care given to elderly members of the community in nursing homes or their own homes, and to migrants and refugees in the Inner West.
At Leichhardt North, St Columba’s primary school recently held its first Family Social Justice evening where parish priest Fr Peter Smith and representatives from the St Vincent de Paul Society and Orange Sky Laundry spoke about how they help people experiencing homelessness.
More than 100 people attended the event which concluded with a BBQ dinner sponsored by local businesses.
The school intends to hold its own launch of the bishops’ social justice statement in late October.
The ACBC statement reveals that more than 116,000 people in Australia are homeless and 875,000 experience housing stress.