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Parishes as Centres of Service
Social Housing Project 2017 - making a difference together

Shelter is a basic human need. Without secure and affordable housing it is hard to maintain a job or go to school. The lack of a secure home can also lead to poor health outcomes and other challenges. Catholic Social Teaching offers us a vision for a just society in which the dignity of all people is recognised. The Justice and Peace Office of the Archdiocese of Sydney explains it this way:

‘Ensuring everyone is able to access a safe, stable and adequate home is one part of working for the common good. … all goods come from God and are intended for the benefit of all and not just the few. This means it is an injustice for some to have more than enough while others lack bare necessities.’

Catholic Social Services Victoria is working with Catholic agencies that provide social housing and homelessness services to increase the level of social housing. A number of parishes and religious communities provide social housing for elderly people, asylum seekers and other vulnerable people. Preliminary results from a survey being conducted by Catholic Social Services Victoria with parishes and religious communities in the Archdiocese of Melbourne reveal some encouraging results:
• So far (as of 12 December 2017), approximately 98 responses have been received from the 250 surveys sent by mail and electronically.
• Of these, 26 parishes and 5 religious communities are currently providing social housing to more than 220 people in 110 dwellings across the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
• The housing is being provided to those on low incomes, elderly people, Aboriginal people, refugees and those seeking asylum.
This generosity is worth celebrating and is just the tip of the iceberg. We are continuing to contact all parishes to build the picture of the social housing being provided to those in need. We will also be including social housing being provided through Catholic social service agencies and health providers to help build the picture of social housing being provided across the Church. We are also encouraging other dioceses to participate in this work.
We are seeking to build on this good work. The survey also shows that there are a number of parishes and religious communities that have additional property that that could be developed for social housing. This includes a variety of either land or buildings that are disused or need considerable renovation or rebuilding. The Victorian Government’s Social Housing Fund and Guarantee may be an opportunity for social housing development projects to be funded on these properties. Some parishes developed social housing units in this way a number of years ago and have nomination rights with the Office of Housing who manage the units.
Our aim is to bring together parishes or religious communities together with Catholic housing providers to develop possible social housing projects that could be funded in this way. The attached discussion paper provides more information about this project. 
Thank you to those who have responded to the survey. We encourage any parishes that have not responded to either complete the survey or let us know about any social housing your parish is involved in. Please email Claire-anne.willis@css.org.au .




Catholic Social Services Victoria acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Elders in each of the Communities where we work. Click for our Reconciliation Vision
Cardinal Knox Centre. 383 Albert Street (PO Box 146), East Melbourne Vic 3002
Tel: (03) 9287 5566 Fax: (03) 9287 5567 Email: office@css.org.au
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