Bishop Bill to launch Social Justice Statement this Friday

This Friday 28 September the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will launch the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) Social Justice Statement 2018-2019 A Place to call Home: Making a home for everyone in our land. The statement reflects the deep concern that the Bishops have about the number of homeless people in Australia and the insecurity of housing.

Bishop Bill Wright, will join with staff from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and St Vincent de Pauls to launch the statement at Matthew Talbot Centre, 82 Hannel Street in Wickham from 5.30pm.

The launch event will include presentations by Clare van Doorn of St Vincent de Paul, Gary Christensen of CatholicCare and Sean Scanlon, the CEO of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle about affordable housing.

The ACBC has also invited Catholic parishes to honour Social Justice Sunday to be held on the last weekend of  September each year.

The ACBC each year produces a statement to mark the event. This year’s statement was developed in response to the growing problem of homelessness and insecure housing in Australian Society. All over the nation, ruthless housing market leaves people struggling to find secure and affordable housing, whether they live in cities or in regional areas.

The Social Justice Statement for 2018-2019 contains some key statistics about homelessness namely:

  • it is estimated that 875,000 households experience housing stress - having to pay more than 30% of their income on accommodation
  • there is a dramatic shortage of community and social housing - Australia needs more than 270,00 extra affordable homes for low income households. Currently there are 39,000 people on the community housing waiting lists and more than 150,000 people on the waiting lists for state-owned social housing
  • specialist homelessness services are struggling to meet demand for emergency accommodation and support - while these services assisted almost 290,000 people in 2017, they were unable to respond to over 53,000 requests for help 

 In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis has highlighted the importance of housing to human dignity, saying:

"Lack of housing is a grave problem in many parts of the world, both in rural areas and in large cities, since state budgets usually cover only a small portion of the demand. 

"Not only the poor but many other members of society as well find it difficult to own a home. Having a home has much to do with a sense of personal dignity and the growth of families.

"This is a major issue for human ecology," the Pope said.

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John Kingsley-Jones Image
John Kingsley-Jones

John Kingsley-Jones is Head of Diocesan Communications