21st june 2016
It’s that time of year again! We have just had the shortest day and, this Thursday night, I will join other business people raising funds to tackle the growing problem of homelessness.
This will be my fifth year and follows another 12 months during which many of us have worked on the Vinnie’s Van providing meals and conversation with men, women (and sometimes children) who live on the street. It is a regular reminder of the simple privilege of having a roof over our heads.
You will have seen the numbers. 1 in 200 people experience homelessness on any given night in Australia. That is over 100,000 individuals. They are the sort of figures that defy belief and, as a consequence, tend to get pushed to the back of our minds.
875,000 households (therefore about 2.25 million people!) are also under housing stress and this is often the first step down an inextricable path to homelessness. Housing stress is defined as households with incomes in the lowest 40% who spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs. In my role as Chair of the Property Council (Illawarra) I am advocating for the local Councils to commit to a housing affordability charter to focus attention the growing need. This is particularly relevant with social housing where the shortfall is 56% of demand.
As an architect, my career is the provision of shelter in one form or another. So much of our lives pivot around our home from the preparation of food, daily ablutions and meeting with friends. It’s such a part of our daily routine that we can easily forget those that have lost this opportunity – often in circumstances beyond their control.
I would greatly appreciate your support. Donations can be made through the following link.