Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

Jesuit Social Services says secure and suitable accommodation is a human right, not a privilege (Bigstock)

The current housing crisis means careful planning is paramount while the National Housing and Homelessness Plan is being defined, writes Fr Andy Hamilton SJ. Source: Australian Jesuits.

The projected National Housing and Homelessness Plan, which is expected to be released in 2024, is welcome. It also comes at a testing time as people struggle to find accommodation and to meet high rents and increased mortgage payments. People with low income and other forms of disadvantage are most likely to be homeless. The call to address this situation is urgent, and the measures to do so will require careful planning.

Jesuit Social Services can draw on its extensive experience with young people affected by homelessness. We believe that secure and suitable accommodation is a human right, not a privilege. It shapes the future life and health of young people with complex needs – particularly those who have been in and out of home care or under the justice system – and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Homelessness, overcrowding and the terrible anxieties those situations breed blight their lives. These things and their social causes must be addressed in the National Plan.

In the present shortage of private rental accommodation and high cost of houses, people on low incomes and with complex needs rely on social housing. This includes public housing, in which rent is capped as a proportion of income, is secure, and is based on people’s needs. It also includes community housing run by not-for-profit organisations, where rents are also capped at a higher threshold but where there are more restrictions on admission.

The proportion of social housing, and especially of public housing, has declined sharply in the last 20 years. Yet people with low incomes and disadvantage rely increasingly on it. It is therefore important for the Government to urgently expand the number and proportion of community and particularly social houses.

Fr Andy Hamilton SJ was recently made a life member of the Australasian Catholic Press Association.


A home is a human right (Australian Jesuits)