Pastoral Letter on Homelessness and Housing Crisis – 2 July 2019
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Many Tasmanians are in urgent need of affordable, safe shelter. Here is an opportunity for the Church body to consider how best we can respond, as their plight is particularly pressing in this cold winter weather.
One of the most effective ways to make a difference to the state’s housing shortage is to make available for rent any suitable properties you own. This may mean removing a property from lucrative short-term accommodation options, like AirBnB. It is sometimes challenging to know what steps to take to make property available to those people most in need of help. Margaret Savage, Anglicare’s Parish and Community Development Worker, can assist you through the steps you would need to take. You can contact her on 62133656 or email email@example.com.
Parishes may like to consider how their land or buildings might also be used to increase housing supply. There are examples of parishes renting out former rectories or placing a ‘tiny house’ on church land for use as emergency accommodation. If your Parish would like to explore this option further, please contact Margaret Savage on the details above.
Anglicare’s recent Rental Affordability Snapshot showed an all-time low in affordable private rentals. Of the 1050 properties listed for rent state-wide on the weekend of March 23-24, less than a quarter were affordable and appropriate for households on low incomes. Those unable to find suitable properties in our state include older people on the Age Pension and families living on minimum wage earnings.
Anglicare continues to seek further government investment in affordable housing for the state, including increasing the supply of public housing. Public housing is key infrastructure for our state – like public hospitals and schools – and plays a vital role in the creation of healthier communities. Parishioners can add their voices to Anglicare’s requests for additional funding for housing.
Another way to provide some short-term assistance is by supporting the Anglicare Winter Appeal. These funds help Anglicare to reach out to people in crisis, though it is recognised that safe shelter is an essential that no amount of emergency support can replace.
The Bible reminds us: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in
need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us
not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18) There are many
opportunities for the Church to demonstrate compassion and love of neighbours at this
present time. I encourage you to seek God’s will and engage in the conversation to see
how best you can respond.
The Rt Revd Dr Chris Jones