In the lead up to the Territory election, Vinnies has renewed the call to add the Right to Housing to the ACT Human Rights Act.

“Vinnies fundamentally believes that a right to adequate housing should be a basic human right,” said John Feint, President of the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.

“Everybody has the right to a home. A home is not just a roof over one’s head. It provides security, a place in which you belong, a place from which you can build a future,” he said.

“Housing First is an imperative. Without a secure and affordable home, allowing safety and stability, the journey of rebuilding one’s life, relationships and reimagining one’s futures is even harder.”

Such was the case for Sam, who came in to contact with Vinnies three years ago when he was experiencing homelessness and poor mental health.

Vinnies case managers supported Sam in to accommodation from which he could address his other needs, and work to reach his goals.

“They drove me to medical appointments, drove me to Smart Recovery meetings, helped me with my applications to receive an NDIS package, and access the Disability Support Pension.”

“The difference they gave was in providing stability. I wasn’t alone.”

“I couldn’t repel them. No matter what I was like, they accepted me as I was and treated me like any other human. They allowed me to reach out in my own time, from my own base.”

As he continued in his recovery, his confidence grew, as did his independence. Sam is now happy to drive himself to appointments, TAFE and meetings. With newfound confidence and financial acumen, Sam started investing in his home, saving up to buy a TV, bike, new furniture – and Jed, his 11-year-old rescue greyhound.

“Many people experiencing homelessness have limited support networks and live with multiple and complex needs,” said Mr Feint.

“Addressing homelessness from a Housing First, human rights-based approach will mean great social connectedness and increased wellbeing. This provides a foundation to focus other goals such as health, employment and education.

“We call on all parties to this election to commit to the principle of housing as a human right and to agree that it is the Government’s role to ensure that all individuals and families, children and adults, in the ACT have access to safe, secure, habitable and affordable housing, “ he said.

Vinnies is preparing to submit a petition to the ACT Government reiterating this call. We are seeking signatures at:        
    https://socialjustice.vinnies.org.au/petitions/housing-is-a-human-right/

22 September 2020