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World Homelessness Day - 10 October 2018

Wednesday 10th October is  World Homelessness Day. Habitat for Humanity estimate that 1.6 billion people live in inadequate shelter around the world and more than 100 million people worldwide are homeless, based on a survey conducted in 2015. These numbers have continued to grow as conflict, war and displacement affects countries and communities around the globe. 

Pope Francis highlights the importance of housing to our human dignity: “Lack of housing is a grave problem in many parts of the world, both in rural areas and in large cities, since state budgets usually cover only a small portion of the demand… Having a home has much to do with a sense of personal dignity and the growth of families. This is a major issue for human ecology.” (Laudato Si’ Encyclical Letter on Care for Our Common Home, no.152.) 

World Homelessness Day commenced in 2010 and followed online discussion between people across the world working to respond to homelessness. It is an opportunity to draw attention to the needs of people who experience homelessness – and provides an opportunity to get involved in responding to homelessness. In September, Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference released their 2018 Social Justice Statement -  A Place to Call Home. The Statement confronts Australia’s growing homelessness and housing insecurity and affirms that secure housing is a human right and a public good. The Statement is accompanied by a brochure – Ten Steps to Making a Home for Everyone in Our Land – that provides practical suggestions about how everyone can make a difference. It encourages everyone to:

• get facts about homelessness and the housing crisis
• reach out to people experiencing housing difficulties and homelessness
• understand the bigger picture behind the housing crisis
• take action to support housing initiatives and
• combat misunderstanding and misrepresentation
• advocate for change, locally, and nationwide.

Local area resources and information are provided in Diocesan Ten Steps brochures, available at the Catholic Social Justice Council website.
If you want information about homelessness in your area, the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) has recently developed a Heat Map that shows the levels of homelessness across Victoria. The Heat Map will raise awareness and help people to develop a better understanding of homelessness in their area and across the State. The interactive map is based on ABS data and forms part of CHP’s  Homelessness Election Platform 2018.
Catholic Social Service Victoria is holding a Parish Housing Forum on Wednesday 24. The forum is an opportunity for parishes to consider possible action and advocacy they can take in response to the Statement. There is no cost. To register, go to: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=426577&
These highlights show that there are many ways to respond to homelessness on World Homelessness Day. Give some thought to what you can do today.

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