Righting the wrong of homelessness
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council Chairman Bishop Christopher Saunders has called on all political parties to address homelessness in Australia with commitment and compassion.
Bishop Saunders said National Homeless Persons Week 2010 (2-8 August) provides an opportunity for the major parties to commit to making a real difference for the 105,000 Australians who are homeless on any given night. Support, he said, is particularly needed for communities throughout the nation where homelessness is reaching crisis proportions.
“This is a time to remember that every citizen has the right to shelter offering security and providing the basis for participation in society,” Bishop Saunders said.
“Last week I witnessed the forced removal of Indigenous people from the sand dunes of Kennedy Hill in Broome. In the process, possessions such as tents, blankets and food and medication were taken away. To witness homeless people losing the only shelter they had makes me question Australia’s resolve to address homelessness.
“When I think of how Indigenous Australians are already over-represented in every category of homelessness, the events of last week highlight the need for a more targeted approach to addressing homelessness for particular groups who are most affected.”
Bishop Saunders said that at the very least, a practical response to homelessness must bring a level of compassion that ensures the dignity of vulnerable people is respected at all times.
“The strategy of moving people on is no solution at all," Bishop Saunders said.
“An important challenge for Australian communities is to be mindful that those people who are moved on may be ‘out of sight’ but they remain in great need.”
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
Visit the Social Justice Office for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
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