Social Justice Group formed to tackle the issue of homelessness

Homeless woman - Image Wikicommons

St Mary MacKillop Catholic Church, Warnervale, has formed a Social Justice Group to tackle the issue of homelessness on the Central Coast.

“One in 200 people in Australia are without a home each night, and 15,872 children under the age of 12 years are homeless each night, according to the National Statistics on Homelessness. “189,000 Australians are on Social Housing waiting lists while 1 in 3 people were turned away from homelessness services last year. “These shocking numbers led us to form the group,” said Social Justice Group Chairperson, Ms Margaret Hagan. “Our local area is not represented in any meaningful way in campaigns to reduce these numbers,” she said. In their quest for details, the Group spoke to their friends and neighbours.

These discussions revealed alarming facts about local people. “We heard stories of three generations sharing the same dwelling; youth crowded into small dwellings; parents and children sleeping in cars and then going to school; and, women and children remaining in violent domestic situations because they cannot find safe alternative accommodation. “Because these are local families, the Group felt compelled to act,” Ms Hagan said. The group is focusing on two different issues: Transitional Housing for people homeless and on the streets, and Affordable Housing for families to rent or buy. “Seven percent of Homeless people live on the streets, and immediate housing for them involved, among other ideas, safe supervised car parking facilities with ablution blocks and kitchen facilities.

“Transitional Housing would consist of adapted shipping containers; plastic-brick dwellings; expanding the use of Tiny Houses, and assessment of 3D printed houses of mud or concrete. “These dwellings are already in use elsewhere and some of them are commercially viable. “The longer-term solution is for affordable housing to be available for families to rent or purchase. “The rental market is, at the moment, the most stressed, and solutions to this problem are spelt out on all the main homelessness sites,” Ms Hagan said. The Group’s next step is to commence the process of mounting a local campaign and welcomes any group, be it club, church, or recreation organisation, interested in supporting change.

Source: Media release, Jun 1 Margaret Hagan, St Mary Mackillop Catholic Church, Warnervale, Social Justice Group