The lack of housing is an emergency in Australia. The number of people who cannot cope with the challenges of a skyrocketing, ruthless real estate market: the latest Census figures show that the number of Australians who are homeless has grown to more than 116,000. That struggle has a “corrosive” effect on: family life, on employment, on study .
This is the theme on which the Australian Church was called to reflect on the Day for Social Justice, which was celebrated on Sunday 30 September.
“Housing is a human right, asserted by documents like the UN Declaration of Human Rights and by the teachings of the Church”, underlined Australian Catholic Social Justice Council chairman Mgr. Vincent Long Van Nguyen.
The statement draws on Jesus’ famous parable of the Good Samaritan. the Bishop recalled that we have the same experience as the Samaritan: “we see people in the street in need of help, wounded by violence, misfortune or poverty, we face the same choice: do we walk past or do we stop and help?”.
“In addition to the homeless, there is a real army that fights to keep a roof over their head, struggling every month to be able to pay the rent or mortgage. Often these are people who have a job, but whose income is barely sufficient to feed their loved ones”, the Bishop said.
Within the Message for the Day it is emphasized that the Church’s attention to these issues has been invigorated by the words and work of Pope Francis towards the poor and the homeless, especially in the city of Rome. The Bishops’ Conference calls on the authorities to mobilize to allow each individual to have access to safe housing and urges all citizens to show their solidarity towards the homeless.