Catholic parishes should make halls and other buildings available to people who are sleeping rough, a homelessness forum has suggested. Source: Mornington Peninsula News.
The call to open up church properties is one of a series of proposals put to the forum, organised by Catholic Social Services Victoria, held in Melbourne earlier this month.
More than 50 delegates from Melbourne parishes attended the forum to discuss problems surrounding homelessness.
The suggested strategy started with personal action and covered initiatives that parishes, schools, the archdiocese and governments should set in place.
The bishops were also called on to issue regular statements for parishes, social media and the press to maintain pressure on the issue.
CSSV director Denis Fitzgerald said that while the Andrews Government had committed to building an extra 1000 housing units in the next four years, there were 40,000 people needing social housing on the Office of Housing waiting list. He said 20,000 people were on the priority list.
“The best efforts of all levels of government will not be enough to satisfy the need for a roof over everyone’s head,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“We are all called to action.”
The forum suggested that individuals should find out the extent of homelessness in their area and what was being done about it, and then volunteer at shelters or kitchens, advocate for more funds and contact their local MP seeking support for the homeless
The forum called on parishes to organise to provide food, meals and friendship for the homeless in the community. They could also set aside, build, redevelop or rent a property for short-term use by women and children fleeing violence.